Gloomy interlull thoughts on Jenkinson, Sagna, Theo & more

It’s a great week to be Carl Jenkinson. Not only has he been handed his first call-up to the England squad, forsaking Finland in the process, but he’s agreed a new five-year contract with Arsenal worth more than £30,000 p/ week. It’s just reward for a player whose career has not so much taken strides forward as giant leaps and bounds. Little more than two years ago he was on loan in the non-league; now he’s on the verge of his international debut. It shows, too, just how quietly and quickly a deal can be agreed when both parties are willing to come to an agreement.

In the meantime, several other players continue to run their contracts towards conclusion with worryingly little news on potential agreements. I’ve made plain my stated belief that Theo Walcott will not sign a new deal, and I expect the club will make every effort to move him on at a reduced price in January rather than lose him for nothing. Theo, who has picked up a glute muscle strain, has been replaced in the England squad by Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha. It would not surprise me too greatly to see the same substitution occur in the Arsenal squad after Christmas.

Whilst I’ve pretty much come to terms with the likelihood of Theo’s departure, I am a little alarmed at the lack of news regarding an extension to Bacary Sagna’s contract. The Frenchman was pretty vocal about the fact he hadn’t yet been approached by Arsenal in the summer. Time has worn on and whilst his youthful deputy has been handed a new deal, Sagna waits for progress. Come next summer, he’ll have just twelve months remaining on his current deal, and we all know that story ends. For me, keeping Sagna is imperative. Jenkinson has been impressive this season, but the Frenchman is one of the best right-backs in the world. If he became available, some of the biggest clubs in football would be queuing up his signature: the likes of Real Madrid, Inter Milan or even Manchester United. I’d argue he’s one of our few remaining world class talents. Worryingly, that also makes him one of our few remaining saleable assets.

However much Jenkinson improves in the coming months, Arsenal should not contemplate losing an experienced performer like Sagna. Similarly you could argue that Zaha for Walcott would be swapping inexperience and risk for relative consistency – unfortunately in the case of Theo it seems the battle to keep him is already lost. What terrifies me about the Sagna situation is that it seems to stem from our own complacency. There is a willingness to see him enter the last 18 months of his contract, which shows a staggering failure to learn lessons from previous experience.

The talent drain will continue, and no player is immune. Jack Wilshere might profess his loyalty now, but unless Arsenal improve enough to match his ambition then that commitment will be tested by the pounds and prizes on offer elsewhere. Arsenal are unmatched in their ability to lose their best players. Look at Everton: a club with far greater financial restrictions. In recent years, they’ve held on to Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka, Marouane Fellaini and others, despite interest from some of the country’s biggest clubs. Arsenal themselves were rebuffed in a bid for Jagielka. We did, of course, succeed in prizing away Mikel Arteta, but Everton got a very good fee for a player entering his thirties with a dodgy knee. They’ve also balanced the books by selling Jack Rodwell, receiving £15m for a player who didn’t even regularly make their first team. In the same period of time, Arsenal have lost Fabregas, Nasri, Van Persie and Song. Once upon a time, Arsenal sold their stars when their powers were on the wane. Now they lose players as they enter their peak.

Financial Fair Play has long been touted as the antidote to Arsenal’s ailment. However, the fact that Chelsea were able to demonstrate a profit last week is yet another puncture in that once hopeful prospect. Arsenal have held on waiting to reap the rewards of parsimony. In the meantime Chelsea have speculated to accumulate, overtaken us footballistically, and are fast catching up financially. This interlull feels gloomier than most.

Gunnerblog is the brainchild of childbrained football writer James McNicholas. Aside from Gunnerblog, James currently contributes to Bleacher Report, The Mirror and ESPN.


  1. Ayo   •  

    Not gloomy enough :)

  2. gooner girl   •  

    Walcott will go, sagna will follow. Whoever matures next will go next. Seems to me this is not accidental. We are not losing players, we are developing them in order to sell them. Our football club is nothing more than a money making machine for the owner and board and even Wenger. The matches are shop windows.

    • Wanadoo   •  

      Totally correct:

      “We are not losing players, we are developing them in order to sell them.

      That is the Arsenal business model.


      1) Fuck the football, let’s just make money in whichever way we can.

      2) When the bubble bursts and we are mid-table mediocrity with weeds growing in the stands then we’ll see it before everyone else and sell our shares for a nice profit.

      • hunter13   •  

        not bad there …just a slight correction

        1) fuck the trophies for a while, we need to make money and repay our stadium first

        2) when the bubble bursts and chelski shiti and manure find themselves in the SHIT, we are the best prepared club to take advantage

        :) cock-tales on me .

  3. ed   •  

    Sorry mate, I disagree with your expectation that we’ll buy Zaha. He’s far too hot property and one of the big boys will undoubtedly, in my opinion, snap him up. Plus, you know Wenger, “eet would keel Ryo/Serge/Eisfeld eef I buy Zaha”.

    Bottom line, for us to buy anyone, we need to sell (squad is already full), and I can’t see Wenger selling anyone in Jan. And why would Theo leave in Jan when he can get a massive signing on fee in July?

    • TH14   •  

      You forget that Walcott, Ramsay and Chamberlain were similarly hot properties and we captured their signatures. Arsenal have become a club with an excellent record of bringing on talented young players and there is little doubt when they begin to mature the really big clubs that actually win trophies will snap them up. At Arsenal Zaha will get plenty of first team football which wouldn’t necessarily come at bigger clubs.
      If Arsenal’s slide continues (and it shows no sign of stopping),then we can expect to lose Jack Wilshere and Woijech Szczesny in 2-3 seasons time too(or whenever their contracts are up). Now there’s some doom and gloom.

  4. ed   •  

    P.S. for what it’s worth, I think the next 3 Arsenal 1st team players to leave will be Theo, Sagna and Thomas Vermaelen.

  5. mightyigor   •  

    We won’t sign Zaha as a bigger club (yes, i said it) will sign him. We already know we are not a “big” club, Arsene himself said it. The talent drain seems to me to be a deliberate business model which has been put in place by Gazidis, the board and perhaps the manager. I’d be very dissapointed if Arsene is happy to develop assets just to sell them on for a profit but the reality certainly points to this.

    I’d be very surprised (pleasantly so) if Sagna and Walcott are still playing for Arsenal next season. I’ll be even more surprised if Jack Wilshere is still at Arsenal by the time he turns 25.

    How’s that for gloomy :) ?

    • @babakrdaemi   •  

      I think big clubs means something entirely different now.

      QPR could be a “bigger club” than arsenal in a few years with their buying power.

      Football is dead, f**ked, finished say it how you want – its over.

      I will go to the odd game but and read the blogs, however, I wouldn’t waste my time debating the potential success if we did x. y or z. The only way to win titles which lets face it, is all that matters is to spend outrageous money we dont have.

      That wont happen at Arsenal unless the Yank sells, and if he does I will be even les inclined to attend games. The only thing that can be worse than watching people buy titles would be to see us bring in Usmanov and do it ourselves.

      Now that is gloomy

      • Santori   •  

        QPR will be a big club…in the championship.:D

  6. Mark   •  

    I wouldn’t put too much faith in the profit figures from Chelsea, quite a bit of creative accounting there.

    • Wanadoo   •  

      Yes apparently, Mikel pulled out one of his pubic hairs, framed it and it was bought by Abramovich Holdings PLC for £45 million as a rare work of art.

      After Chelsea have spent another £100m in the next transfer window, then Terry, Lampard and Cole will be drawing stickmen playing football which will be purchased by Abramovich Holdings PLC.

      If any of you think FFP will make any difference – you’re deluded. Wenger knows the score…..he’s just using that to buy him more time.

  7. Hyattgooner   •  

    Theo, Sagna and TV5 will definately leave with the Verminator likely ending up in Barcelona to replace Puyol. Honestly, I dont blame the players for leaving because given the opportunity I would too. Truth is we as a club we are regressing fast.

    • Santori   •  

      Theo should have been sold last summer. Dragging on the contract seems to me a losing battle. Freezing him to the periphery until recently has not only damaged us (with Ramsey out right) but also simply made no sense given his ability to deliver assists and goals.

      If we didn’t think we’d pay the wages he is asking, we should have gotten someone in early.

      Sagna will leave. Come summer, we will likely have to fill two voids in the fullback positions. Given current lack of options from academy (very green), I’d say Vermaelen may be shifted to a LB alternate (with equal cover as Cback). But we will need a top class RB. Debuchy is available.

      Also Yanga Mbiwa may be a good option (pending performance this season) as he is quick and can cover across the back positions.

  8. oyinloye m olusegun   •  

    it is a pity because this is not arsenal i joined as a fan in 1996,no doubt,the new performing arsenal players should be prepared sale,because we are not interested in winning trouph but to sell for money making.

  9. oyinloye m olusegun   •  

    it is a pity because this is not arsenal i joined as a fan in 1996,no doubt,the new performing arsenal players should be prepared for sale,because we are not interested in winning trouph but to sell for money making.

  10. oyinloye m olusegun   •  

    Gunner fans in North London are not diehard fans like we in Nigeria otherwise,they should have stopped watching them because the board and arsene are toilling with fan’s heart.Arsenal a hypertensive and heartbreaker.

  11. Santori   •  

    Everton’s ability to hold players…well we took Arteta off them and it is at the expense of an extremely thin squad.

    So somewhat disingenuous although I agree retention more than buying power is our key problem.

    Song should have been kept. That we could not sets a very bad precedence and is telling in the lack of continuity in our squads, constantly rebuilding over several seasons now (with inherent lack of trophies to boot)

  12. Munitionsman   •  

    To an outside observer it would look like a classic case of asset stripping by Stan. And there is only one reason to do that and that is for sale. But Stan has no history of being a seller. So it begs the question what does Stan actually gain by destroying the “brand” which he is absolutely doing at the moment. The only possible answer for me is that Stan doesnt really understand what is happening and trusts Wenger. And wenger has obviously lost the plot with his failed socialist model. Ivan can do nothing because he doesnt know anything about football either. So whether its the right answer or not, the first step has to be to get wenger out of the picture. It may be a mistake but its the logical first step in a the problem solving process. And the fans are the only one’s who can make it happen. A lodd on Saturday and it could well start rolling. Bring it on.

    • shaun   •  

      finally some common sense like i said wenger is 99.9% of the problem , not stan not ivan but the fans god himself wenger is the root of all our problems and yet you still get people of relative common sense saying it’s the board and wenger has no money and is toeing the line ….hillarious if you ask me

    • shaun   •  

      after reading the whole paragrapth
      “It may be a mistake but its the logical first step in a the problem solving process.”

      it is the only logical step and is not a mistake and is what needs to happen ….teams turn out lazy ..cannot be bothered to defend or close down,….make stupid school boy errors again and again and again …you take off your most threating player when your loosing ….you have no ambition… rely on error prone goal keepers when able replacements are available at low cost , you continually play players out of position ….you play santos anywhere …I mean come on fella’s it’s not rocket science is it.How you can possibly blame stan and Ivan for this is anyones guess …they are just muppets and have no clue about english football or any footbal for that matter

      • Munitionsman   •  

        I dont think its a mistake personally, but \i dont know everything and regardless of how bad wenger is sacking him could still be a mistake because the club no longer has the acumin to select a new manager because there is actually no footballing knowledge at the club at all once wenger goes… excpet bould and banfield.

  13. Munitionsman   •  

    what is a lodd you say? well its like a loss only typed on a new tiny keyboard.

  14. Stevieo   •  

    GS, you’ve been more than happy to back Wenger and Gazidis over the last few years as they’ve gone about dismantling the cub. What will happen over the coming months is no different to what has been going on for several years now. We have no intention of keeping our top players. The only difference is that even the AKB’s have finally woken up to the predictability that our players want out of this shambles that used to be a football club.

    So stop bloody whingeing about it. There is a solution to all this chaos, but you AKB’s aren’t interested in it. You still live in the bubble that players leave only for more money, which means that our god Wenger is exempt from blame in this sinking ship.

    Besides, come July, after another bout of asset stripping, all of this will be forgotten as you’ll be getting excited at the prospect of another Santos signing. Or looking forward to seeing another Park come to the club. No doubt Wenger will be dipping back in to the French League for another Chamack to get excited about. Or maybe you’ll find another Campbell scoop to excite the AKB’s with, who will then go on to disappear off the face of the earth?

  15. Wanadoo   •  

    I’m just looking forward to the Nigerian Scamming influx next June where they all tell us how wonderful AW is.

  16. Sir "Wegs" Wegwick   •  

    i haven’t been on this site for a number of days, and you’ve all turned into a bunch of gloomy guts! let’s get behind Wenger and the boys and cheer them on to victory!

    and it goes to show with Bouldy that Wenger ins’t the problem to our defensive woes. it stems much, much deeper than that. what great news!

  17. Sir "Wegs" Wegwick   •  

    i think zaha would consider signing fro the arsenal, but where to play him/?

    we have chucks, benny ryo, ox and others who are as good, if not even better than zaha.

    its the difference between playing fora championship side and a consistent 4th place trophy winner

  18. bernardinho   •  

    agree 100% on sagna. my impression is that there exists a deal that would make sagna and arsenal happy, and arsenal seems not to be trying hard enough to get this deal signed.
    agree jenkinson has made progress but i think he is still way too far from the top level.

  19. Munitionsman   •  

    WTF is this benteke twat on about? Has he been to the adebuywhore school of loyalty training or something???

    • Sir “Wegs” Wegwick   •  

      He is being honest. He didn’t know where aston villa were based (I didn’t either when I was 21) and he loves Arsenal because he grew up qwatching Henry and co. play football. I love Arsenal because I watched Henry and co. play football.

      The only thing that separates Benteke and me are a few inches….

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