Melbourne City has officially announced its first signing of the January transfer window with the acquisition of Englishman Carl Jenkinson. The deal will see the 29-year-old join the club on loan from English Championship side Nottingham Forest for the remainder of the season.
Jenkinson will ring a bell for many, as he has a total of over 90 Premier League appearances, gained through his time spent at Arsenal and West Ham between 2011-2017. During this time, he also appeared in European competitions such as the UEFA Champions and Europa League. With a resume offering a lot to be excited about, let's delve a little deeper into our latest signing and discuss just what he can bring to Melbourne.
Despite Jenkinson spending over six years of his career on the rosters of two huge English clubs, a quick google search will reveal that he hasn’t played a lot of football recently, in fact only 11 appearances since 2019. It’s safe to say City fans are understandably cautious looking at such numbers due to witnessing a number of lackluster European arrivals over the years.
However, in this case it may be worth cutting the Englishman some slack. The 29-year-old was an active part of his West Ham side between 2014-16 before being struck down with injury. The following years saw him battle reoccurring niggles, only managing to string together a handful of appearances between further stints on the sideline.
Eventually, he would be sold to Nottingham Forest, but was not able to break into the side. Again though, we may have to cut him slack here. Jenkinson is a classic no-nonsense fullback, opting to focus more on the defensive aspects of his game. Seemingly this just didn’t suit the current manager of Forest, opting for a more attacking wingback approach. All in all, it seems Jenkinson has had a few years of bad luck that don’t reflect the quality he possesses, which is where Melbourne City comes in.
With the recent sale of Nathaniel Atkinson, our fullback position was looking extremely bare. This signing adds further stability to our defensive ranks which will be pivotal in navigating an ever-growing cluster of rescheduled fixtures.
I doubt we will see the attacking nature Atkinson possessed at right-back, but with the array of creative wide men on our list, that may not be such a problem. We all know the issue this season has been defence-related, so for Melbourne City, a player like Jenkinson should be a welcome inclusion.
This also presents as a fantastic opportunity for Carl himself. It’s crucial to remember that this man has enough talent to play regularly under the likes of Arsene Wenger during his time at the Gunners, and earn a cap for England. At only 29 years of age, he’ll feel he has plenty to offer, and some fresh surroundings with faith from his coaching staff could be exactly what he needs to regain the form that saw him play regularly in the Premier League.
Long story short, there’s really a lot on offer for both club and individual parties here. City, will look to solidify what has been a shaky defence so far this season with some invaluable quality and experience. And Jenkinson will hope to use the resources City will provide to resurrect his career. This has the potential to be a match made in heaven.
City’s biggest challenge will be keeping him fit; between the fast paced nature of Australian football and a lack of game time on Carl’s end, not managing him properly has the potential to cause further niggles on an already fragile body. But if there is any team in the country equipped to deal with such cases, it’s City.
Carl Jenkinson brings with him incredible experience from what is widely regarded as the best league in the world. Not just a game here or there, he’s proven that when he’s on song, he can be a contributing member to even the biggest of English clubs.
Things may have not gone his way recently, but as the saying goes; form is temporary, class is permanent. The sooner the Englishman can be involved in the playing group the better, on and off the pitch.
Welcome to Melbourne, Carl Jenkinson.