Back in 2012, Arsenal had hopes that a core of British players would become first-team regulars in the future, but it didn’t quite work out that way, so where are they all now?
Almost 10 years ago, Arsenal announced that five young British players had signed long-term contracts.
Carl Jenkinson, Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were touted as the future of the club.
The five were dubbed “the British Core”; a collection of home-grown talent with the values of Arsenal instilled in them from an early age who would form the foundation of a bright future.
Almost 10 years on, none of the players are still at the club and they had only a few FA Cups to share amongst themselves.
Aaron Ramsey was the penultimate man standing, and the standout star of the group, but he’s been gone from Arsenal for more than two years, now.
In fact, he’s been gone so long, he could be on the move from Juventus in the next few months.
Jenkinson, who joined from Charlton Athletic in 2011, despite only ever having experience for a non-league club, is currently at Nottingham Forest.
Still only 29, Jenkinson was, surprisingly, the last of the British core to depart. He was sold to Forest for £1.98m on 7 August, 2019 after an amazing eight years on Arsenal’s books and 70 first-team appearances.
Jenkinson looked promising during the early years of his Arsenal career, but soon fell behind Bacary Sagna and Hector Bellerin in the pecking order.
Two loans at West Ham followed, before a serious injury condemned him to obscurity for a while. Another loan followed, this time with Birmingham before he came back into the Arsenal squad for a year.
Arsenal tried to move him in many windows but, like Granit Xhaka, he always seemed to stick around.
Jenkinson is out of contract next summer and hasn’t played a single minute this season for Nottingham Forest.
Gibbs came through the academy and was Arsenal’s starting left-back until Nacho Monreal arrived in January 2013. He hung around as a decent back-up but never hit the heights people thought he could have.
He was moved to West Brom for a fee of £6.75m in 2017 and he spent four years with the Baggies before packing his and heading to Inter Miami this summer on a free transfer.
Gibbs is now 32.
Jack Wilshere is another who came through the academy and was the biggest hope of the club.
His is perhaps the saddest story.
A career blighted by injuries sees him currently without a club after being released by Bournemouth at the end of last season.
Oxlade-Chamberlain arrived in the same summer as Jenkinson and spent six years in and out of the Arsenal team, mostly due to unfortunately-timed injuries.
He found regular first-team action in his last season as a wing-back, but was clearly unhappy at not being able to play as a central midfielder.
The Ox was sold to Liverpool in 2017 and, although he has won a number of trophies, injuries have continued to dog his career.
He’s played just 182 minutes this season, fewer than Gabriel Martinelli and we all know how little he’s played.
As for Aaron Ramsey, he left in tears, on a free, when Arsenal withdrew their contract offer in 2019.
He signed for Juventus, who have reportedly wanted rid of him since not long after signing him, surprised that a player with a history of injuries would keep getting injured.