Some thanks and some right-back thoughts

Bellerin, Debuchy and Jenkinson

Morning all.

First off, thank you all for the comments, email and feedback on yesterday’s piece about Abou Diaby. Any writer will tell you they love to have that from their readers, so everyone who took the time to say thanks or that they liked it, I really appreciate that.

I did my best to answer every Tweet that was sent my way, but if I’ve missed a few I apologise! It can be a little difficult to keep up at times, but I do think it’s really important to respond when somebody talks to you online. I know many view Twitter as a broadcast mechanism only, but that kind of defeats the purpose of it in my opinion.

It’s not simply a way to post links or get your opinions thoughts out there, it’s a tool through which you can talk to, and engage, with your audience and should be viewed as such. I mean, I understand completely why somebody with a huge amount of followers simply can’t reply to every Tweet they get, but from my point of view I do my best to get back to people as much as I can. If it takes a bit of time, so be it.

For example, the other day on the Arsecast Extra we were talking about how dogs are great, so we asked people to Tweet us pictures of their dogs. You can’t then ignore the people and, more importantly, the dogs. If I have missed the odd one, it’s because I got distracted (I am very easily distracted from something I’m working on to hahaha look at this woman’s SPLAT hahaha). I have seen your dog though, and your dog is ace, because dogs are great.

Anyway, for all the social media experts and strategists out there, there’s a very simple trick for you: don’t view the people who make up your all-important numbers as followers, as if you were some kind of digital Pied Piper. We’re all rats and that. Or something.

Pretty quiet this morning, here’s the equivalent of online tumbleweed:

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And there’s another trick for you. If, like many, you’re on the look-out for Arsenal news on NewsNow, if you sign up for an account there you can block any peddlers of rubbish, nonsense and balderdash by simply clicking on the name of publication and choosing ‘hide publication’. Like so:

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I keep hold of the Sudbury Mercury for my own reasons, thank you very much. Of course you can’t rid yourself of all it, but my list is now 320+ and it does make it easier to find the bits and pieces that are out there.

The only things we can really touch on are West Ham wanting Carl ‘Jenks’ Jenkinson on loan again. With competition at right back already fierce between Debuchy and Bellerin, there doesn’t appear to be room for the son of Bonnie Tyler’s backing singer, but interestingly some reports say Arsenal want him to sign a new contract before they approve any loan deal.

Jenkinson was one of the 5 who signed long contracts at the end of 2012 (along with Ramsey, Wilshere, Gibbs and Oxlade-Chamberlain) so there’s no massive urgency. But when you see Joel Campbell, a player similarly on the fringes, put pen to paper before his Villarreal loan in January, it makes you think there’s a new tactic in play here.

On the one hand if the player does spectacularly well with their temporary club, you’ve got some assurance about their future at Arsenal if you decide to keep them. However, it also works that if they do so well that they attract interest from elsewhere and the club is prepared to let them go, it increases their value simply because of how long they have left on their deal. A player with three or four years on their contract will generally command a higher price than one with just 12 months to go.

Another loan for Jenkinson does make sense. He developed well at West Ham last season, the fact he was playing regularly really helped him, so you don’t want him to stagnate by sitting on the bench – if he even did that. We know Sunderland are interested but I suspect that as a London boy he’d prefer to go back to the Hammers if a deal could be done with them.

The question as to who starts our new season as the incumbent in the right back position is a good one. Will the manager keep faith with Bellerin who, for a young player, was outstanding in the second half of the season, or bank on the experience of Debuchy? On ‘form’ (such as it is after a summer break), you could make a very good case for the Spaniard, but it’s worth considering his age and relative rawness.

He’s not the first young player, and won’t be the last, to have made a breakthrough into the side and been carried along on the crest of a wave, so to speak. He’s played less than 40 games in his professional career and as such he’s more likely to be subject to fluctuations of form. Not because of his quality, I think that’s evident, but it’s almost always something a young player has to go through.

It’s very rare for a player to come in and maintain that level of consistency. He could well be one of the exceptions, you never know, but I think it will be something that the manager considers. Debuchy’s first season was ruined by injury, but you can be sure he’ll be determined to win his place back. I’ve said before this kind of problem is the best one a manager can have, so we’ll see how he deals with it in just a few weeks time. For some bonus reading on Bellerin, Tim Stillman’s column on him this week is well worth your time.

Finally, transfer news of the day is that Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who became the second youngest player ever to represent us in the Champions League, has joined Ipswich Town on a season long loan. Good luck to him.

Right, that’s your lot for this rather warm, sunny Friday. Till tomorrow.


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