It can be argued that Jack Wilshere is the most naturally gifted footballer England have produced over the last decade. From that successful loan spell at Bolton Wanderers back in 2009 to capping off that simply stunning Arsenal team goal against Norwich City, Wilshere has always made his presence known.
However, it’s time to talk about the elephant in the room. Injuries have hugely hampered his career. In his ten seasons, 238 appearances isn’t anywhere near enough – particularly when a European powerhouse like Arsenal will be involved in 50+ games per season.
In total, Wilshere has suffered 13 significant injury issues. He’s spent a rather ridiculous 918 days on the treatment table. That’s almost three years!
A career-defining move
This week, we learned that Wilshere will be switching his boyhood club for pastures new following a conversation with Unai Emery. So, where to for the midfielder who was once regarded as England’s best hope? While his Three Lions teammates are looking forward to a heavyweight clash against Belgium in the World Cup, Wilshere’s plotting a career-defining move. One thing’s for certain, they’ll be offers aplenty arriving at his doorstep. Let’s start at the summit.
Although Arsenal and Wilshere came to a mutual agreement that his time at The Emirates is over, I personally think they’ll be one or two other big-six sides showing significant interest. Manchester United certainly need a new midfielder or two. Michael Carrick hung up his boots, whereas Marouane Fellaini seems to be on the way out. As an outside punt, I wouldn’t be all too surprised to see Jose Mourinho pick him up on a free transfer.
Then, there are United’s cross-town rivals, City. Imagine how insanely brilliant Wilshere could become under Pep Guardiola’s tutelage? He may find minutes hard to come by at first, but if he can keep himself fit, I wouldn’t bet against him beating out the likes of Ilkay Gundogan and Fabian Delph. Another issue, though, he’ll still be in the limelight.
Back to Bournemouth?
A stay in the Premier League would be ideal. Why not reunite with Eddie Howe on the South Coast? During that season with AFC Bournemouth, he played in 27 Premier League fixtures; that’s the second-best tally in his professional career. The young English manager seemed to know exactly what was required to keep him away from those dreaded injuries. If that means monitoring his minutes, then so be it.
As an outside bet, why not go abroad? Both French and Italian football would suit Wilshere down to a T. I absolutely adore the thought of him heading to OGC Nice, to be managed by a certain Patrick Vieira. The Ligue 1 style is just perfect. Plus, they also have a winter break that lasts for over three weeks; that’d give Wilshere ample time to rest, recuperate and recharge the batteries.
The same can be said about any potential move to the Serie A. The lavish lifestyle that either Milan side could offer must be tempting, and we all know how relaxed they are over there. Surely that’d minimise the chances of injury? I’d much rather that than getting kicked off the turf for 90 minutes every weekend.
I genuinely feel that this could be the making of Wilshere. Variation from the norm and moving away from your comfort zone often brings pleasantly surprising results. As the old saying goes, sometimes you have to go back before you can go forward. A step away from the pressure-cooker that is an elite Premier League side is exactly what’s required, and we could still have a real world-class star on our hands yet…