There have been a number of high-profile stars to have made the move across London to join West Ham from Arsenal but you can’t help feeling the Gunners got the best out of these players. With the visit of Arsene Wenger and his men this month, I had a look at some of the transfers between us and while some have worked better than others for us, what’s clear is that we’ve developed a good relationship.
Wright’s footballing journey began at non-league Dulwich Hamlet before the Woolwich-born striker was given his fi rst break in professional football by Crystal Palace. But it was at Arsenal where Wrighty showed how lethal he could be in front of goal. Aft er switching from Selhurst Park in September 1991 in a deal worth £2.5m, he went on to score 128 Premier League goals in 221 appearances. Aft er a hugely successful seven years at Highbury, Harry Redknapp persuaded Wright to move to the Boleyn Ground but his time in east London was less eff ective as he only notched nine goals in 22 games. A debut winner against Sheffi eld Wednesday kept expectations high, but Wright never re-discovered the level he found at Arsenal.
The former England international won three Premier League titles during his 13 years at Arsenal, and is seen as one of Arsenal’s greatest left backs. But with Ashley Cole coming through the Gunners’ ranks, Winterburn swapped Highbury for Upton Park in a £250,000 deal and I’d argue he was a success. He made just under 100 appearances for the Hammers during his three year spell, and made the left back position his own under Redknapp, Glenn Roeder and Sir Trevor Brooking.
He’d been a vocal point of the Arsenal Invincibles side of 2004 when the Gunners went 49 games unbeaten in the top flight. And although Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp understandably got the plaudits for their phenomenal goalscoring record, Robert Pires and Ljungberg were equally as important due to their superb wing play.
After nine years with the north London club, the Swedish winger signed a four-year deal with West Ham but he only lasted one season due to poor form. Ljungberg, who won 75 caps for his country, struggled to create chances in claret and blue, and had to wait until February for his first goal for us. Suitors were not forthcoming after the winger’s contract was mutually terminated, and a short hiatus followed before his move to MLS side Seattle Sounders.
After making the switch from Charlton Athletic to Arsenal, Jenkinson failed to make the rightback position his own and the emergence of Hector Bellerin meant that the Harlow-born defender’s opportunities at the Emirates Stadium were limited. A season-long loan was negotiated for the 2014/15 campaign, and after a slow start, Jenkinson improved significantly.
The England international became one of the first names on Sam Allardyce’s team sheet and notched 32 appearances in his maiden campaign with us. A change in manager did not decrease our high expectations of Jenkinson and Arsenal agreed to another season-long loan deal.
It could be argued, however, that Jenkinson suffered a bout of ‘second season syndrome’ last season. An appearance between the sticks after Adrian’s late red card in the opening home game of the final season at the Boleyn Ground was unexpected, as were two goals in the space of a week against Sunderland and Crystal Palace. But in conceding a penalty in the home draw with Manchester City in January, Jenkinson suffered a season ending injury.
Overall, Jenkinson did impress in large parts of his 59 appearances in claret and blue. After returning to the Emirates, Jenkinson has still found himself behind Bellerin in the pecking order, but with the defender ruled out for December through injury, Jenkinson could come face to face with former teammate Dimitri Payet at London Stadium. We shall see which side gets the best from him after all.