Wilshere Conundrum by Norbert
There is never a dull moment concerning Arsenal related news. The latest trend is the Wilshere contract issue with pundits, former club players and the man crying out. Wilshere coming out and appearing to blame the coach may work against him. Arteta does nòt tolerate undue pressure. I believe Arteta keeps him because he is seeing something special. Several players have gushed at his abilities as well. He might have taken him to Dubai to make numbers up in the way some junior players went as well. Does the player deserve the contract? Does the club need him? Let us take a look.
Jack Wilshere came in with a lot of promise and hype. It was deserved. Club fans have splendid memories topped by that Barca performance and Norwich goal. He never lacked technical abilities and passion. He has a sweet left foot capable of good short and long passes. His ability to drive the ball through the middle is never in question. He can make a good deep lying play maker for a team trying to build from the back like Arteta’s Arsenal. He can be useful against teams sitting back because of his ability to play in tight spaces and attract fouls. He can add experience in a team that lacks it on occasions. He is 30 and played against the best and the worst in his career. He is one never to be intimidated by any player or official.
There seems to be a popular midfield play amongst top teams in premier league. Defensive and central midfielders rarely carry the ball. Forget Ngolo. Wingbacks are carrying the ball more than midfielders. There is a popular long pass bypassing the midfield to space between center backs and full backs. Examples are Jota goal vs Arsenal, ball to same player from midfield for Xhaka sending off. City plays it frequently every match. Arsenal plays it a lot especially to Martinelli, with examples being chance he missed against Liverpool from a Lokonga pass and his goal created by Xhaka. White plays a lot of this pass too. Wilshere has potential to play this better than anyone in the current team.
His career was blighted by injuries and spates of disciplinary issues. History of injuries make any potential deal a high risk adventure. Arteta played with Wilshere and will know the baggage his former team mate comes with. This could be the cause for indecision, considering the coach already confirmed Wilshere’s quality as premier league level. While he is a special player, Wilshere faces competition for any midfield position in that team. He is good at what every midfielder available does well, passing the ball. He is not a better tackler than Xhaka or Partey. Xhaka devides opinion but is the coach’s first midfield name on the team sheet. Wilshere has not played a match in a long time and is possibly not as fit as anyone else. Training and match day are different things.
The hold up
Wilshere would make a good insurance signing for the club. Any injury, suspension in any position would easily be covered by his availability. His disadvantage is he available without signing anything. He is training with the team, familiar with club culture and can be drafted at very short notice if needed. Why risk signing him at all unless actually needed? A play as you earn deal can do the trick, but Arsenal fans are the most finicky around. The club could easily be accused of disrespectful penny pinching or someone would fly a plane with a banner over the Emirates.
Signings of any value have no success formula. There are no guarantees Wilshere may not fail. A fickle fanbase would cause an unnecessary furore in the event of failure. The club doesn’t need any more sideshows at the moment. Wilshere signing will only happen as an emergency . He needs to keep doing the most in training and talk less. If the chance comes, he is one player capable of playing to earn a year or two year extension with ease given ability and popularity amongst the fans.
Keep the faith Jack. Keep the dream alive.