As we head into the final stretch of our season, West Ham have done well to shore up some areas of the team in advance of next year. We’ve offered new contracts to midfielders Mark Noble and Morgan Amalfitano, and also to central defenders Winston Reid and James Tomkins. It’s great to have those areas settled, but when it comes to our right-back position, fans still aren’t sure whether Carl Jenkinson will be lining up for the Hammers come August 2015.
The young defender is currently on a season-long loan from Arsenal, and has impressed during his time at Upton Park. He quickly moved to become our first choice right-back over the more established Guy Demel – and won over the fans with his hardworking performances. He’s getting regular playing time and has become a popular figure at Upton Park.
After his performances this season, I’d bend over backwards to keep Jenkinson at the club. Of all of our loan signings of recent years, he’s been the top one for consistently performing at the top level. Jenkinson is a life-long Arsenal fan, but there’s certainly potential that he’ll wish to stay a Hammer – particularly since Arsenal are rumoured to be offering a four-year contract to their 19 year old right-back Hector Bellerin, suggesting that Jenkinson would not get much playing time should he return to Arsenal.
In contrast, Jenkinson currently enjoys as much playing time as he could want at West Ham. Since September 2014, Jenkinson has played in all but three league games for West Ham (including sitting out for the two Arsenal games, which his loan contract prohibited him from playing in.) Of the games he’s played in, nearly every one has been for 90 minutes.
He’s owned the right-back position, and his regular playing time is starting to garner him attention – he’s currently enjoying a call-up for the England U-21s, although should he chose to stay with West Ham United, he will need to look forward to getting ignored for a senior team call-up for the rest of his career.
Assuming that Jenkinson doesn’t want to play for England and wishes to stay at West Ham, the real question would be how much West Ham would be prepared to pay to keep the 23-year-old on their roster. Should the club set a maximum bid for him, or should it be more of a case of signing the fan favourite whatever the cost?
At the time of writing, there is no clear valuation for Jenkinson. According to the Mirror, Arsenal may ask for over £6million for the talented defender; but the Daily Mail have run two very different articles—one suggesting the figure is £10million, and the other reporting that it would be in the region of £12million.
Whilst this range of price options is quite vast and includes a grey area of some £6 million, it does suggest that West Ham will have to shell out quite a bit for Jenks. It’d be a big step as we are currently a West Ham side who don’t have a particularly expensive cluster of defenders (most of them were speculated to have been signed for amounts in the region of £2.5m – £4m – although Sky Sports reported that Aaron Cresswell’s fee “could rise to £7 million if certain clauses are met”.)
Personally, I don’t think £6 – 10 million would be unreasonable being that at his age West Ham would be buying potential as much as they are buying performance – and that’s a good investment to make – but should his price tag lean more towards £12million, I don’t know if we can justify spending that much on one player when signings like Diafra Sakho, Adrian, Aaron Cresswell et all prove that we can make smart financial decisions and get brilliant results.
Jenkinson has had a great season playing for the Hammers – and the best thing we can do as a club is put forward a respectable amount of money and negotiate the strong deal needed to ensure we get further great seasons out of him.