Arsenal have had better seasons than this one, and hopefully will have many more better ones in the future. Arsene Wenger isn’t smiling too much over the last few months, but the news of Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey, Kieran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson signing long term contracts must have done something to improve his mood.
If there’s one thing Arsene Wenger is about, it’s the future. That’s how he’s been selling the failures of recent years – by saying he’s building for a better future, financially and professionally. Getting the young players who’ll be wanting to leave to better and bigger clubs in the future to sing and commit their forseable future to Arsenal is one step towards either winning something or at least making sure they’ll be able to make money for the club.
The plan is to build a team around a strong basis of young players, in order to get them to develop their talent at the club. Jack is certainly the best known, the leader of this group – but the other four players are exceptional footballers, and we’re very happy that we could conclude their new deals at the same time.
Gibbs, Jenkinson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey and Wilshere represent a core of the squad and it’s an extension for a long period for all of them. I’m a strong believer in stability and I believe when you have a core of British players, it’s always easier to keep them together and that’s what we’ll try to achieve going forward.
Wilshere, 20, returned this season after 14 months away from the football pitch. He has played in 7 matches for the team, also making his return to the English national team. Oxlade-Chamberlain has been mostly a disappointing figure, failing to win a starting place in Wenger’s lineup or show any kind of consistency and progress in his play, featuring 11 times this season.
Aaron Ramsey enjoyed a good start to the season, playing 15 times and adding 2 assists so far, but fails to make any impact on the game plenty of times, often being placed out of position. When healthy, Kieran Gibbs has shown he’s one of Wenger’s best players at the moment, vastly improving his ability to blend defense and offense on the left flank. Carl Jenkinson, 20, has also shown some progress this season, but his development is not without its setbacks.