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Usually when two clubs agree a fee for a player, the remaining details of the transfer are a mere formality. Accepting a bid is effectively a clear message to a player that they’re surplus to requirements, and it’s usually not long before they’re holding up a shirt at their new club, a forced grin emblazoned upon their face.
Carl Jenkinson’s transfer to Crystal Palace appears a little different—and understandably so. Both clubs have publicly admitted that they’re in agreement, but the player has dithered. Now reports are beginning to emerge suggesting that Palace and Jenkinson have been unable to find an accord on personal terms, and the move looks to be off.
Perhaps the reasons are purely financial—like all Arsenal players, Jenkinson is on a handsome contract at the Emirates Stadium. However, one suspects there could be other factors at play here. After all, Jenkinson is a boyhood Gooner representing the club of his heart. Speaking about the moment he joined Arsenal, Jenkinson told Sam Wallace (then of The Independent):
“When Arsenal signed me it blew me away. It was all a bit of a blur. It was my dream. You always want to play for the club you support. It was just a big shock, I was so happy that Arsenal had come in and wanted to sign me. There were other big clubs who were interested. None of them would have meant the same. When I knew Arsenal were interested there was only one place I wanted to go.”
However, Jenkinson’s dream has not quite materialised. He’s enjoyed plenty of highlights, including a memorable first goal for the club against Norwich, but Wenger seems to have reluctantly reached the conclusion that he’ll never quite make the grade for the Gunners. The manager must feel a little like he’s shooting Bambi.
It was not always thus. There was a time when Jenkinson appeared set for a long and distinguished career at Arsenal. He had a difficult start, infamously being dismissed during the 8-2 defeat at Old Trafford in his maiden season. Some players might never have recovered from that fiery baptism.
However, Jenkinson’s second season saw him bounce back in considerable style. A good run of form as Bacary Sagna’s stand-in even saw him earn a call-up to the England squad, where he was handed his solitary cap by Roy Hodgson. There’s a certain irony that it was the former Finland manager who convinced Jenkinson to turn his back on the Scandinavian nation he represented at youth level.