Jack Wilshere is at the cusp of an interesting season. And he wants to hold crunch talks with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger ahead of the new season. Wilshere wants to discuss where he stands in the pecking order before deciding on his plans.
Wilshere has missed more games than he played for the Gunners in the last season. In fact, most of the supporters are always frustrated with the fitness worries of their English midfielder. Ahead of the pre-season, he has set his sights on returning to peak fitness.
The talented midfielder was out of action for six months with an ankle injury. And when he returned, he was afforded very little time in the first-team. With Arsenal having already secured their top four position, he started just two matches. This meant that for Wilshere, the pre-season is an important set of matches to prove his worth.
Wilshere can see that the problem ahead of him is the plethora of midfield options for Wenger. In his absence, Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin owned the central midfield roles. Even the influential Aaron Ramsey had to shift to the right wing on occasions last season. Add to this the option of a fully-fit Alex Oxlade Chamberlain. We are not even talking about the old warhorses Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta.
It is evident to Wilshere too. He realizes that Wenger will be hard pressed to replace Cazorla or Coquelin with Wilshere – especially after their stellar last season. Wenger, on the other hand, sees Wilshere more as an offensive midfielder. Even that position is not clear entry to the first XI because Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez are sure to start as part of the front three.
That leaves a huge selection dilemma for both Wenger and Wilshere. If Wilshere has to be accommodated in the first XI, Wilshere will have to think of moving wide. There were unconfirmed reports that the manager could be seriously thinking of this option. In fact, that way, Wenger will have the best of his squad start every game.
However, it leaves a huge decision for Wilshere to make. With rumours of Manchester City circling the Emirates Stadium to check on his availability, it may prove a distraction. Wilshere would want to identify his position in the squad before taking a decision.
But, as Wenger pointed out, Wilshere needs to play continuously but to fit him in Wenger will have to displace one of lst seasons regular starters. With such an important season, everyone will have enough chances to impress the manager if we are to compete on four fronts. Also, Wenger needs cover everywhere so that he can mount a serious challenge on the Premier League title. It is in his own interest that Wilshere grabs the chance to play more; even if it is in wide positions. But can Wenger GUARANTEE a starting place for our Jack?