For the second summer in a row, it appears that Arsenal will be able to avoid selling any of their major stars.
But, interestingly enough, the team may be willing to sell one of the young talents they have been cultivating throughout the years, as Carl Jenkinson could be shipped off to West Ham.
And while a loan move would make sense for Jenkinson after the summer the Gunners have had on the transfer market, selling him entirely doesn't make much sense.
There's no question that the additions of Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers this summer have made Jenkinson expendable in the short term.
Debuchy was brought in to replace Bacary Sagna and take over as the first-team right-back, while the young Chambers is extremely versatile, able to play on the right or center of defense or even slide into a defensive midfielder position.
That versatility will make him a valuable man to have on the roster, especially if centre-back Thomas Vermaelen is sold this summer.
So it's hardly shocking the Gunners would loan Jenkinson to another club so he could earn regular first-team football. But selling him? That's harder to understand.
Still, according to Steve Bruce—the manager of Hull City who had pursued Jenkinson—the player likely will be heading to West Ham, as he told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast show, via Nick Rostron-Pike of talkSPORT:
There are about five or six clubs who would be interested in Carl Jenkinson. He’s a very good player. We did show an interest in him. West Ham manager Sam [Allardyce] is in the box seat though because they are in London.
When a really good young player comes out of Arsenal, or one of the big clubs, then the likes of Hull will always be looking at them. He’s got the choice of five or six clubs. From what I understand Carl wants to stay in London.
Interestingly enough, Bruce does not say whether Jenkinson will be sold or loaned to West Ham. According to Graeme Bailey of Sky Sports, it's likely the latter:
The move is logical. Jenkinson gets his first-time football, and Arsenal keep him for the future in the event that Chambers settles in as a centre-back rather than on the right. Plus, while Chambers is just 19, Jenkinson is 22 and past the age where playing a deputizing role can really benefit him. He needs regular action.
Of course, if Chambers does stay on the right, it could make for quite the interesting battle to see which player emerges as the starter for the future. Based on last year's stats, Chambers has the upper hand.
|Calum Chambers vs. Carl Jenkinson, 2013-14|
|Stats via WhoScored.com. Tackle, interception and cross statistics per game.|
Playing for Southampton and playing for Arsenal are two different beasts, of course. But manager Arsene Wenger is certainly pleased with his latest purchase, per Squawka Football:
Jenkinson is hardly chopped liver, of course. His game is highlighted by his excellent pace, and WhoScored passed along some of his other noticeable traits:
That he is so poor crossing the ball is a bit troubling, especially in a system where the fullbacks are often asked to overlap and join the attack. But that is also an aspect of his game that he can improve upon.
Jenkinson is one of the young players whom Wenger has really groomed over the years, including Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, so it would be pretty shocking if he decided to sell him off this summer.
In many ways, it would feel like a scientist dismissing a theory before he had properly tested it and run all of the available experiments.
Maybe Wenger has seen enough from Jenkinson to know his future lies elsewhere, however. Perhaps he has seen enough from Chambers to know that Jenkinson won't ever earn the starting gig. Jenkinson's time at Arsenal may truly be up.
But more than likely, he'll simply be loaned this summer. Chambers was excellent last season, but there's no guarantee he's the future at right-back.
Getting Jenkinson regular football by sending him off on loan while keeping him an Arsenal man makes the most sense for the player and for the club, both in the present and as an insurance policy for the future.
That sort of win-win scenario feels too obvious for Wenger to ignore.