Arsenal loaned defenders Carl Jenkinson and Cohen Bramall to Birmingham City in the summer, but the sacking of Harry Redknapp could affect their chances of regular playing time.
Birmingham sacked Redknapp on Saturday after losing their sixth game on the bounce. The decision came as a surprise, certainly to me, given the experienced boss was allowed to overhaul the playing staff over the summer with 14 new additions.
Two of those 14 players were loaned from Arsenal – Carl Jenkinson and Cohen Bramall. The defensive pair were signed for the season to get playing time, as their chances of featuring for the Gunners were slim, I believe.
Redknapp rated both players and praised them in the Birmingham Mail when they were signed. On Jenkinson, he said: “We’re delighted to have him, he brings experience, he’s got pace, he’s a really attacking right-back. I think he’s a really good signing for us.”
As for Bramall, he was excited by the reports he got from Arsenal: “He’s lightning quick, he has fantastic pace and a great left foot. All the reports from Arsenal have been excellent.”
Jenkinson played one Championship game before he injured his shoulder. Bramall, on the hand, has played once in the second tier and once in the Carabao Cup and hasn’t made an appearance since. Whatever Redknapp had planned for him, we’ll never know.
A change of manager brings plenty of uncertainty to a squad, as whomever takes over may not rate the players Redknapp brought in. While Jenkinson won’t be playing due to his injury, Bramall could be concerned about his chances, I feel. If he isn’t playing regularly by the time the January window comes about, Arsenal could look to recall him, or Birmingham may even send him back.
Off the field, there’s the matter of confidence and how much the players can learn. I feel Arsenal would have sent Bramall to Birmingham on the understanding that Redknapp would take care of him. The last thing they would want is for a new manager to come in and ruin the player’s mental state or get him into bad habits, although there’s a chance a change in management could be a positive thing too.
It’ll certainly bring about some interesting challenges in the weeks ahead.