Over the course of this summer, several players have been linked to Arsenal, while some of those links have come as a surprise; others have been met with an air of disbelief. None more so than the link over the last few days that Arsenal intends to bring in 20 year old Atletico Madrid reserve right back Javier Manquillo on loan. The link is strange, especially against the backdrop that he made just 3 La Liga appearances last season.
This particular speculation raises a lot of questions as regards the previous link of Serge Aurier. When Arsene Wenger reportedly declined to sign the Ivorian 21 years old, several people were of the opinion that the Frenchman was avoiding bringing in a player that is in the same age bracket as Carl Jenkinson and Hector Bellerin. And that he wanted a player with experience which the impending signing of Mathieu Debuchy showed. But, the link of the Spanish champion’s right back to Arsenal means, there could be more to why Arsene Wenger did not pursue Serge Aurier.
The 21 years old Ivorian had a stellar season with Toulouse last season. And, he would have spent at least two months away from the club at the African Cup of Nations if he was signed. A reason for which Arsene Wenger could have turned down the signing. But, an underlining issue that has been an age long problem in African football must have been a hindrance for Wenger to pass on the opportunity to get the Ivorian. His passport might read 21 years, but on a closer look, it doesn’t look that age and looks far older than he looks (at least for an African). David Moyes made a observatory comment few years ago about Nigerian striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni then at Everton, when he asserted that he was a Nigerian 25 years old, meaning that he was older than what he claims. This could have been an issue with Serge Aurier.
Besides the above, what does the signing of Javier Manquillo means for the futures of Carl Jenkinson and Hector Bellerin? Carl Jenkinson is 22 years old and Hector Bellerin is 19, while the former Real Madrid youth player is just 20. If he is signed on loan with an option to a permanent deal, he puts in doubt the future of Carl Jenkinson who will be in direct competition with Javier Manquillo.
Already, the signing of Mathieu Debuchy would limit his first team opportunities, and bringing another player who is two years younger will affect him mentally. And besides, he could be flogged out on loan.
Arsene Wenger has a likeness for technical players, something Carl Jenkinson is not. Does Arsene Wenger rate him? It looks bleak for the Englishman if this link becomes fact. However, there are assertions that Javier Manquillo is a versatile player who can also feature at left back and he is strong in the air. The Frenchman could be bringing him in for his versatility and not as a possible replacement for Carl Jenkinson only time will show that.
As the summer transfer window continues to amaze from an Arsenal angle, it remains to be seen the other surreal news that waits.