Jack Wilshere - Where to go next?
Yesterday evening, after months of speculation and questions, Jack Wilshere revealed that he is going to leave Arsenal at the end of June when his contract expires. He has stated this is because of footballing reasons and that, while he always intended to remain an Arsenal player, the clear lack of first team football he was going to get under new manager Unai Emery forced this decision.
Wilshere has been one of Arsenal's best midfielders in the last 10 years showing real quality from an early age with technical ability which outweighed his peers. His passing and dribbling elevated him in up the ranks and quickly he became one of the best young prospects in the world.
Unfortunately, Wilshere’s career has been horrendously blighted by injury. Ankle, knee and calf injuries have stunted his potential and while he has remained at Arsenal, he has failed to become the player everyone thought he could be. This has resulted in the Arsenal player not making the England squad, despite being fully fit.
Gareth Southgate instead elected to take Eric Dier and Jordan Henderson in the centre of the park, with young Ruben Loftus-Cheek as another option, rather than taking Wilshere. A blow like this to a player of Wilshere’s quality must have influenced his decision to pursue first-team football.
While he did not make the England World Cup squad, It was universally thought that Wilshere would remain at Arsenal and sign a new deal. Wilshere is one of very few who have grown up around the club and has become synonymous with Arsenal Football Club.
This is a point he even brings up himself in his leaving statement with the Englishmen writing “I have been on the books at Arsenal for 17 years and have always felt part of the fabric of the club”.
However, after meetings with the new manager, the 26-year-old clearly realised his game time at under Emery was going to be limited and has now decided to move on from the Emirates. In his statement which was posted on Instagram, Wilshere stated
“I am sure everyone can understand that at this point in my life and career I need to be playing regular first-team football and following my meeting with Mr Emery I came away feeling that it would be very difficult for me to do so at Arsenal.
Given this, I feel I have no option but to pursue other opportunities in order to progress my career on the pitch.”
There are few better creative midfielders in the league on his day, but will the Englishman even remain in the country?
The rumours on where Wilshere will play his football next season are rife, with bookmakers scrambling to keep up and offering odds for his next destination. According to Sky Bet, the most likely destination for Wilshere is Turkish club Fenerbahce being priced at 4/6 at this time.
With the Turkish club missing out on the League title to city rivals Galatasaray, they are looking to strengthen before the new season and see Jack Wilshere as a good addition to their midfield.
Fenerbahce offer a completely new challenge but if the young midfielder wants to move away from the Premier League while he is still in his peak years remains to be seen. Much closer to home, Sky Bet are offering 4/1 for London clubs West Ham and Crystal Palace giving Wilshere the opportunity to stay in the capital with his young family.
With these two clubs, he would be the key man in midfield, a position he has not been offered at Arsenal. With the buzz around the player being so large since his statement, these odds are likely to change drastically over time, especially with different clubs making their interest known in the midfielder. The link to these odds can be found here.
There is no denying that Wilshere could be a fantastic addition to any of these clubs in the centre of midfield. Hopefully, this move will revive his career and he can go on to excel on the pitch and potentially force himself back into the national team for the European Championships in 2020. Yet, his future fitness will still be the biggest factor in determining if the move will be a success for himself as well as his new club.