Nottingham Forest sign Arsenal defender Carl Jenkinson as final member of ‘British core’ leaves

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Arsenal have continued their clear out by selling Carl Jenkinson to Nottingham Forest for £2million.

Right-back Jenkinson’s exit brings an end to his eight-year stay at his boyhood club and comes a day after Laurent Koscielny also left for Bordeaux for £4.6m. 

The 27-year-old has signed a three-year contract at the City Ground and could make his Forest debut at Leeds United on Saturday – his departure signals the end of an era as the final player to depart Arsenal from the ‘British core’ of players who signed long-term deals in December 2012. 

Jenkinson moved to Arsenal in 2011 from Charlton Athletic, and made 70 appearances for the Gunners in all competitions. 

Jenkinson said of his Arsenal departure on Instagram: ‘This is a message that is hard to write so I’m going to keep it short. I’m leaving Arsenal in pursuit of a new challenge and a fresh start, and ultimately to play regular football again.

‘I can’t really put into words what it has meant to me to play for this club, but what I can say is I have truly lived my dream. This brings me to you, the proper Arsenal fans, as I have lived your dream too.

‘It has been an up and down journey for me but I hope you all have seen how much it has meant to me and know that I have given it my all. I have played 70 games for Arsenal which if you told me I would do as a kid I would’ve laughed at you. I take many great memories and friendships from my time at this special football club, and it is a chapter in my life that I will cherish forever. 

‘I see a great future for this club under the current manager and coaching staff, and I look forward to seeing this unfold. As for now, I’ll take my seat back in the stand, as a fan, with the rest of you.’

More significantly perhaps though is that Jenkinson’s departure means all five of the infamous ‘British core’ who signed long-term deals in December 2012 have now left the club.

The quintet were classed as the home-grown future of the club under Arsene Wenger.

Wenger said on the day, 19 December 2012, when all five signed long-term contracts: ‘I believe when you have a core of British players, it’s always easier to keep them together.

‘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.’  

Now though, all five players are plying their trade elsewhere, with Aaron Ramsey moving to Juventus on a free transfer this summer.

Last summer, Jack Wilshere also left on a free for fellow Londoners West Ham, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kieran Gibbs left for Liverpool and West Brom respectively in the summer of 2017. 

Throughout his eight years at Arsenal, Jenkinson has struggled to hold down a consistent first-team spot, with decent spates of form coupled with injuries and mistakes. 

He signed from Charlton as a 19-year-old for £1m, and made 14 appearances in his first season. 

Jenkinson then signed a new long-term contract alongside four other young Brits in December 2012: Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. 

A month earlier, he had also made his international debut in a friendly against Sweden. 

But he was sent out on-loan for two consecutive seasons to West Ham United from 2014-2016, and spent a further season on loan at Championship side Birmingham City from 2017-2018.  

Within that period, the Englishman suffered an ACL injury, and struggled for minutes with his parent club.  

And although he spent last season in the Arsenal squad, he made just eight appearances in all competitions, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Hector Bellerin preferred at right back. 

After Aaron Ramsey’s free transfer to Juventus and Laurent Koscielny’s move to Bordeaux this summer, Jenkinson was Arsenal’s longest serving player, but that title now falls upon fellow defender Bellerin. 

Overall this summer, along with the departures of Krystian Bielik, David Ospina and Xavier Amaechi, the club have brought in around £20m through player sales. 

The exits of Petr Cech, Aaron Ramsey, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Danny Welbeck on free transfers has also further helped ease the strain on Arsenal’s wage bill. 

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