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Ramsey, Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain in Arsenal spotlight

Arsenal announced five new contracts in December 2012 with Carl Jenkinson, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all signing new deals.

In December 2012, Arsenal proudly announced that five players had signed new deals with the club.

Carl Jenkinson, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain sat there posing with contracts in front of them and boss Arsene Wenger standing proudly behind.

It was a British core, as Wenger described it. A response, perhaps, to players born abroad who don't have the same connection with a club, making it easier for them to jump ship when things don't go the way they want or when enticements from elsewhere are too hard to turn down.

Some have unfairly accused Wenger of ignoring home-grown talent for inferior continental players but it's difficult to think of any young talent he's let go who has proved him fundamentally wrong. It was simply that Arsenal weren't producing players up the required standards.

In 2012 there was real hope these players would firmly establish themselves but their developments have been varied to say the least. Here's a look at each of them, what their future might hold and what they need to do.

Aaron Ramsey

By far the most successful of the five. He's been hampered by injury this season but his 2013-14 campaign was spectacular even with a lengthy injury absence. He scored 16 goals and it was his winner that helped Arsenal lift a trophy for the first time in nine years as they beat Hull 3-2 at Wembley in the FA Cup final.

The team feels most balanced with Ramsey in midfield and although this season has been punctuated by injuries, he's hugely important and looks to be regaining some form at the right time.

Jack Wilshere

At a crucial stage in his career, with injuries slowing his development and raising doubts over his future. In some ways he's been unfortunate -- the nasty tackle from Manchester United's Paddy McNair that put him out of action in November was hardly his own fault -- but there comes a time when you have to make a decision about a player's future based on how often he's available to play.

That time isn't there yet for Wilshere. He's still only 23 but if he's to fulfil the potential he clearly has, he needs another season like 2011-12 when he started 44 times. Last season he was in the starting XI just 26 times and this time around it's 13 with the campaign heading into its final stages.

Not only does his availability need to improve, the level of his performances have to drive his career forward. Only once this season, when he was superb against Manchester City at home, have we seen the Wilshere many thought would be a permanent fixture in the Arsenal side by now. It's not make-or-break yet but it's getting to a point that he has to start delivering or Arsenal have to think of alternatives.

Kieran Gibbs

It looked as if he'd won the battle with Nacho Monreal for the left-back position but after the Spaniard's run at centre-half and another untimely Gibbs injury, the Englishman has found himself out of the team more often than he's in it in recent months.

The eldest of the five -- he'll be 26 this year -- he's no callow youth. The worry might be that he's plateaued to become a decent if unspectacular option but one that's far from indispensable. How he responds to Monreal usurping him in the side will be interesting.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Clearly a player well-liked by Wenger and despite being hugely familiar now, he is still only 21. The main issue is that he's yet to nail down a particular position as his own. He's played left wing, right wing, attacking midfield and as a traditional central midfielder. He does all of those things well but has yet to do one of them so well that it's considered his position.

Perhaps his versatility, as handy as it is for his manager, is something of hindrance to his development. There have been real signs of progress in his game this season, though, and how often he's played. Criticism regarding his lack of end product is understandable and that's where he next needs to improve but time is very much on his side.

Carl Jenkinson

He must have known that his manager's faith in him wasn't 100 percent when Bacary Sagna left and instead of the understudy taking over the right-back position, Mathieu Debuchy was quickly brought in from Newcastle.

The loan spell at West Ham was to help him play regular first-team football and to improve as a player. Indeed, there's little doubt he's done that, performing well for this season. However, he now faces an increasingly difficult task to play regularly at the Emirates.

Not only does he still have Debuchy to contend with, the emergence of exciting Spaniard Hector Bellerin means Arsenal have a decision to make in the summer. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Jenkinson make his West Ham move permanent.

Andrew Mangan is one of ESPN FC's Arsenal bloggers. You can follow him on Twitter: @arseblog.


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