25th July – Wilshere Wandering Out of Arsenal?

Headlines: Jack Wilshere wanted by Turkish Super League side Antalyaspor – Sky Sports News

(Image from Sky Sports)


Everybody thought that Jack Wilshere would be the next big thing in football, the perfect replacement for both Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard in the national side, especially after he put in a man-of-the-match performance as Arsenal beat Barcelona at Emirates Stadium in 2011. But it hasn’t quite reached those heights for the 25 year-old, who now has serious question marks over his future in North London, and with only one year left on his current Arsenal deal, Wilshere’s career is most definitely at crossroads. Italian side Sampdoria made a £6 million bid which was rebuffed by the Gunners, who evidently value Wilshere higher than that.

Player Background

‘Jack the Lad’ was promoted to the Arsenal senior squad at the start of the 2008/09 season after being at the club since he was nine years of age. He made his first-team debut that year, but started to become a mainstay in Arsene Wenger’s side in 2010, when he played 49 games in all competitions for the Gunners that season, including that display over Barcelona. However, injury hit Wilshere hard in the summer of 2011, picking up an ankle injury in pre-season to rule him out of the entire season. He returned in October 2012, and played 25 more league games that year, as well as another 25 games in 2013/14 season, but an irregular run of matches, mainly down to the rise of Aaron Ramsey at Arsenal, meant that Wilshere became more susceptible to injury, and his ankle woes reappeared in November 2014, and the England international would not play again until the last game of the Premier League season. Another aggravation was picked up in August 2015, which once again ruled him out for almost an entire year. He spent last season on-loan at Bournemouth, making 27 appearances for the Cherries, playing more matches than he did for Arsenal in the last three seasons combined. He’s also made 34 appearances for his country, but has only played bit-part roles in England’s major tournaments, coming on as substitutes at best during the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 European Championships.

Would a move abroad suit Wilshere?

The fact that Arsenal are willing to negotiate with other teams with regards to Wilshere’s future suggests he could well be on his way out of North London, and a move abroad could be a smart move for him. Every time the 25 year-old comes back from injury he struggles with the physicality of Premier League football and sometimes shies away from tackles to prevent another long injury lay off. In order to get a decent run of games, Wilshere must surely consider moving to a slower paced league to get his fight and energy back that he dazzled the country with when he first came through into the Arsenal and England side. As previously mentioned, Sampdoria are very much interested, Antalyaspor are reportedly in negotations with Arsenal, while Wilshere rejected AC Milan to play for Bournemouth in the Premier League last summer, could their interest be rekindled?

But does he still have a future at Arsenal?

Ahead of him in the midfield pecking order for the Gunners are Aaron Ramsey, fresh of the back of scoring the winner in yet another FA Cup Final, last summer’s £35 million signing Granit Xhaka, Francis Coqulin, and Mohammed Elneny. Personally, Wilshere is not an upgrade on any of these players and will struggle to even make the bench for Arsenal in the Premier League. However, with Arsenal playing Thursday night football in the Europa League this season, rotation will surely be needed for the Gunners in order to mount a serious Premier League title challenge. So that could be where Wilshere could still have an Arsenal career and rebuild some confidence, but is that enough?

Chances of leaving Arsenal: 7/10

 Would he be a good signing: 8/10 (depends on the club, but would benefit all of the clubs he’s being linked to)

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