Thus begins the long goodbye for Jack Wilshere

Jack Wilshere is set to leave Arsenal for a loan deal and there are many who will paint this as a positive move for Jack and the club. But let’s not kid ourselves, this loan move means that Jack Wilshere might not be seen in an Arsenal strip ever again.

There are two types of loans that Arsenal arrange: loans for experience, and loans to get rid of players. The loans for experience happen when the player is younger. Think of Wilshere going out to Bolton. He played under then Press Darling Owen Coyle and when he returned to Arsenal as an 18 year old with an extra 14 matches of Premier League experience, he was raring to go.

But once a player reaches a certain age and experience level they either need to break into the first team, be happy with sub appearances, or they get sold/loaned. If you’ve been following Arsenal for more than a year you can probably name all of the players who left on loan, never to return, or to return for brief spells and be loaned out again. That’s where Jack Wilshere is right now.

It seems improbable that Arsenal wouldn’t be able to find a permanent suitor for Wilshere. My guess is that this loan deal is more at the behest of the player who was probably hurting after being left out of Sam Allardyce’s England squad. Wilshere probably approached Arsene Wenger in the last few days and asked to be loaned. With little time to shop him around and get top value, Arsenal are smart to loan him out: he will get exposure (raising his value) and the club will have time to line up suitors.

There were many reasons why Jack never seemed to find a place in the Arsenal squad. The first was, of course, injury. He had a breakout season the year after his loan. He played 49 times for Arsenal in 2010-2011 and won praise as England’s brightest young talent. But then in 2011-12 he suffered a stress fracture during pre-season and owing to complications of his recovery, he played zero times all season. He was actually out for 17 months.   seasons at Arsenal, Jack has m and played a total of 173 matches.

He had a decent run of games for Arsenal after that recovery but questions arose as to which was Jack’s best position. For Arsene, he will publicly say that it’s the number 10. For England, it’s a pseudo-holding midfielder role. But despite Wenger saying that Jack was a number 10, Wenger played him in a variety of roles, including the left wing. Wilshere was at least playing at the time, though that would all come to an end when Paddy McNair broke his ankle with an ugly tackle in November 2014.

Critics at the time suggested that Jack should change his game. He has a tendency to hold on to the ball too long, to carry the ball right up to the edge and then try to beat players off the dribble. In football parlance, he invites the tackles. I’m not saying he deserves to have his ankles broken, at all. But at the same time, there is no denying that more passing and less dribbling would mean fewer chances for the McNair’s of the world to break his ankles.

Ironically, despite the one McNair reducer, Jack has mostly been injured in pre-season matches. His first big injury was in a match against New York Red Bulls in 2011. And in 2015, Gabriel broke Jack’s fibula in a pre-season training match. Both of those tackles resulted in Wilshere missing most of a year or more.

The other reason why Jack can’t get a game, and this is a harsh reality, is because he is down the pecking order in all of the positions he could possibly play. Number 10 is taken by Özil and Cazorla. The number 8 role is taken by Cazorla and Ramsey. The number 6 role is taken by Xhaka and Coquelin. Left wing is taken by Alexis and then maybe Wilshere, if Welbeck is unfit. Jack has no automatic starting spot at Arsenal and so it’s not a surprise that he wants a loan in order to get into a team where he can play.

Wilshere has had a number of off-field incidents but nothing major. He likes to sneak a smoke and he’s been spoken to by the police for a few small altercations. He also spoke truth to power once when he led the Arsenal supporters in a chant of “what do we think of Tottenham?” He is known to like a few beers and isn’t one to stay home on a Friday night. Wenger isn’t a fan of this kind of stuff — not necessarily because he like tee totals but more because Wenger feels a professional athlete needs to give 100% of his body and mind to the sport. He once told Tony Adams that he was amazed at his career, that because of all the partying, Adams had been at about 70% capacity and yet had still managed to win all of those trophies. Still, I don’t think his after-hours partying is the reason for this move.

Rumors have Jack going out on loan to Roma or Valencia. I think a move to the continent is perfect. He needs to get out of the toxic atmosphere of the Premier League and work in a league that demands more technical and tactical nous and less running straight up and down the pitch at 100mph so that you can have lumps kicked out of you.

It would be fantastic if this loan move meant that Jack would be back at Arsenal next year. He is a huge talent and should be starting at a club like Arsenal by now but he’s just missed so much of his career down to injury that he’s got huge gaps in his skill set. He’s not a well refined 24-year-old center mid, yet.

That said, I have a feeling that this is the end of Jack’s Arsenal adventure. He’s 24. It would be highly unusual for him to come back into the fold. He would have to work his socks off during this loan. Literally prove himself worthy of the starting spot at Arsenal.

Otherwise, this is just the beginning of the long goodbye.

In other news

It looks like my prediction that Gnabry is done at Arsenal is coming true as he is being sold to Werder Bremen. I don’t think that Wenger initiated either of the Gnabry move or the Wilshere move. I think both, like the Campbell move, are being driven by the player. Good for them. Players should demand more playing time. We don’t want guys hanging around, collecting paychecks, and doing nothing. Also, best of luck to both (all three) of them in their careers.

One other thing that has me a little nervous is that Valencia sold Alcacer to Barcelona for £27.5m. That sale was literlayy not supposed to happen. Valencia insisted on keeping the player and part of what made the Mustafi deal to Arsenal palatable to them was that they would be able to sell Mustafi, use the money from that sale to stay above FFP rules, and keep their star striker. But now that they have sold Alcacer they don’t need Arsenal’s money… We know that Mustafi wants to leave and wants to come to Arsenal but I’m worried that Arsenal’s hardball tactics may have backfired and Valencia may shut the deal down. I’m not hearing any movement on this deal and I’m now officially worried that it will fall apart.



  1. Can’t agree with your take on the Wilshere situation. if he goes out on loan and plays regularly, why shouldn’t he play himself back into contention? He’s not the type who can sit on the bench, play in second rate cup games and find his mojo; no, he needs to be at the heartbeat of things, mixing it up, riding tackles and getting in people’s faces. He’ll have that chance out on loan where, as you point out, he’s basically third choice for us. That’s not just a reflection on Jack but also a reflection on our squad’s quality depth. Next year may be different; with a solid season under his belt and Santi Cazorla one year older, he will have a much better chance of successful re-integration into the first team setup than he does now. He needs a consistent run of games and he won’t get them with us. This loan makes sense for everyone involved. Also, 24 is not that old. It would be fair to say he hasn’t his his peak years yet, which for central midfielders is usually their late 20’s. Finally, a loan in Spain or Italy would teach him tactical discipline which he sorely lacks.

    A comparison that springs to mind is van Persie, who everyone said was finished at the age of 27 after Chiellini’s tackle ruptured his ankle ligaments (again). The next season he scored 30 goals for us. He never went out on loan, it’s true, but he didn’t have any competition ahead of him either. Jack does and that’s why this is happening. His career is entirely dependent on whether he can stay on the football pitch or not. Let’s find out.

    1. I don’t know, Doc. If Wilshere comes back (which I left the door open for, you notice) he’s still got Özil in front of him for the #10 and, let’s be honest here, Ramsey in the box-to-box.

      For Wilshere to take Ramsey’s place he’d have to learn how to play defense. I know he’s picked for the deep role for England but he’s an awful defender — his timing of his tackles are atrocious and he’s a danger to himself when he does tackle because as far as I can tell he doesn’t know how to tackle. I also know that me saying that would have gotten me a ton of thumbs down if we still did that stupidity. But he’s objectively an awful defender.

      So, while I agree that Cazorla is done this year, I disagree that he’s going to claim that role. He has a lot of work to do to get back into this team, I don’t know if he has it in him.

      I’d love to be proven wrong.

      1. Overall, Wilshere when fit is a better football player (and better at box to box, even with his weakness defending, which I don’t think is as bad as you say) than Ramsey.

        1. I would strongly disagree that a fit Wilshere is better than a fit Ramsey – and I’m not a big Ramsey fan (there’s another player that I would entertain offers for).

          Honestly, both players are injury prone, don’t fit any one system or style of play very well and lack tactical discipline but yet we could fetch extremely good prices for either.

      2. No arguments on his defensive acumen, he is an offense first player. The main reason to use him from deeper in midfield is his ability to carry the ball, break the lines and link with others on the counter. That’s probably going to be his niche, and he does it better than Ramsey. With Wenger’s newfound emphasis on players who thrive on the counterattack, Jack’s best skill may be just the thing the squad needs. He’s never been a prolific assister so I don’t really see a direct competition with Ozil. I know that’s where the boss has played him in the past but long term I don’t see it at all .

      3. Connect on the tackling. There’s more than a bit of Paul Scholes to his game, bad tackling and all, although Scholes (an annoying human being) was the kind of superlative passer that Jack isn’t.

    2. i get your point but your example is poor. i don’t remember people saying van persie was finished back then. he’d managed to remain fit the entire ’08-’09 season and had an amazing start to the ’09-’10 season. i could be wrong but i’m pretty sure i’m recalling that time correctly.

  2. That Alcacer deal is making me nervous about Mustafi, too. It would be very of Arsenal to have the manager and talk publicly about the deal happening, and then it fall apart.

    1. Wenger has said the deal is done. He has his faults, but one thing he doesn’t do is jump the gun. Bank on it that it’s done.

      I thought I read Valencia needed to dump a lot of salary, not just one big player.

  3. If this moves take place then our squad depth wont look so good anymore. I wonder if Arsene would have agree to Campbells loan if he knew that Gnabry and Wilshere would push for a move. Im very dissapointed at Gnabry specially after we put out with his serious injury , he shows a lot of promise and i would hate to see him killing it at another club. Hopefully a buy back clause could be inserted. I dont see the point on loaning Wilshere so he can get injured somewhere else, its better if he stays and plays between 15-20 matches to give rest to the starters.

  4. i really don’t think arsene will let go of jack like dat…he’s one of those english players born with ‘wenger spoon’.Apart from dat,i really like him,he’s got great technique…grea write-up,tim..but it’s not d beginning of a goodbye,he’ll b back bigger,better and stronger….

    1. DO IT TIM. DO IT!

      Hell, I might do it. The wife and I are eyeing a move to the West Coast anyway.

      1. Ok fair enough, but here’s my 5 cents:

        It says ‘0-2’ years experience so maybe you don’t need it. And c# can be learnt. It’s not difficult.

        But anyway, you could analyse the hell out of the data they have, so maybe you can present yourself as an analyst. Your soccer knowledge is excellent and they would need people to make sense of the data. Otherwise what’s the point of it.

        This blog is pretty much your resume and don’t forget Amy Lawrence reads it. Your analysis is amongst the best I’ve read.

      2. Phew. You taking up a job with the Arsenal probably means the end for this blog – conflict of interest and all that. So for my own selfish reasons I am glad you don’t have exposure to C#.

  5. Mustafi and the German FA, along with Wenger, have all independently confirmed the move. Talk was that yesterday’s bank holiday in the UK slowed down the paperwork. It’s done… As for Jack, it must hurt his pride, as the true post-Cesc poster-boy of the Project Youth era, to find himself so far down the pecking order at the only club he has known. The harsh reality is that Arsenal are gradually outgrowing him now. Wenger is in a hurry to win trophies and will no longer indulge the proteges who’re not performing. That message seems to have sunk with Walcott for instance as evident in his serial benchwarming towards the end of last season and his reactive improved form in the early days of this season. Yaya Sanogo is ostensibly injured but we know what that kind of injury means in Wengerspeak. Sczescny, once the great hope, has been banished to Roma for a second successive season. Rather than buy a steady journeyman stopgap (e.g. Ashley Williams or Johnny Evans)to tide over till Gabriel or team skipper Mertesacker return to fitness, Wenger went for the more expensive and younger Mustafi who, on paper at least, is an upgrade on both. He has also exiled Chambers in preference for the newbie Holding. Whichever way you look at it, Wenger is going for industry, desire and merit over other indices which have influenced his squad-building and team selections in recent years…with the curious exception of hard-worker par excellence, Joel Campbell. He’s clearly not molly-coddling anyone in possibly his last season in charge of Arsenal.

    1. Mertesacker will only make cameo appearances from now until the end of his contract. Wenger dropped him last year.

  6. Jack Wilshere is literally a jack… a jack of all trades, master of none. Sort of a swiss-army knife midfielder, but that’s passé in today’s game. He’s a good passer, but not a great passer like Ozil, Cazorla or Xhaka. He’s a good runner, but not a great runner like Ramsey or Elneny. He’s an OK defender, but not near as good as Coquelin. He’s got some skill to play the flanks, but not nearly the power or speed to exploit space like Ox, Walcott, Sanchez, Iwobi or Perez now. He’s an OK finisher, but not like Ramsey or Ozil of late.

    So what is Jack Wilshere? What’s his best position? It’s not for a club like Arsenal in the middle of a season to figure this out when there’s other (more reliable) midfield options available.

    I read that we would not entertain selling him to a top 4 rival… why not? I can’t see him measurably improving any rival. And we could get 40m for him in the current market, money that could be used on other needs like a Rodriguez or Draxler.
    The problem is that Jack is one of our few academy products. And once you start giving up on those and selling them off what message does that send to the kids on the U-19 team? We’d be little better than Chelsea.

    1. “The problem is that Jack is one of our few academy products. And once you start giving up on those and selling them off what message does that send to the kids on the U-19 team? We’d be little better than Chelsea.”

      Valid point, but think of it this way – it tells the academy players that they won’t be mollycoddled if they don’t perform. They will be given a chance – look at Alex-Alex Iwobi – but if they’re not good enough, they’re out. Wenger has spoken at length about how he looks for players that have had to fight to reach where they are. Many read it as an attack on Theo, but perhaps Wilshere was the target.

      I see Jack as potentially doing well as a false 9. He passes well, has excellent close control, is a good dribbler, and can finish reasonably on occasion. On a team with high-scoring wingers and AMs, he could flourish in that position. Maybe.

      1. My point is that he’s past the point where we say “maybe”. Either we know or don’t know what positions Jack Wilshere can flourish in. If we don’t know, he needs to go somewhere else to sort that out. And I wouldn’t wait on him, we seem to have a pretty good pipeline of home-grown midfielders (Toral, Reine-Adelaide, Zelalem, Crowley). Sell him and take the money.

    2. Many central midfielders are jacks of all trades. That’s kinda a strength for the position all in itself. He’s simply not had a sustained time to play and develop since his breakout year, so it’s hard to say what his ceiling is regarding most of those skills (he’s not going to get faster, e.g., but otherwise…).

  7. Interesting article. Not sure I agree, but your logic is definitely sound. I would argue that Wilshere falls into the category of ‘exception’.

    Wenger clearly rates him extremely highly. Whenever he’s fit, Wenger tries to play him. It often doesn’t work, either for fitness issues or positional issues. But when Wilshere is fit, he plays where there is a gap. Right wing, midfield, etc. The only player Wenger won’t play him ahead of is Ozil. Seeing Wilshere on the bench this season when fit is definitely a new thing.

    I agree that this is probably instigated by the player, but I disagree that it is the right attitude. I think Wilshere needs to earn his place on the team, and he doesn’t like it. He – and many fans – see him as the new Mr. Arsenal, a future captain, the leader of this team. Based on what? Certainly not his performances. He’s done nothing to earn it, but he has a certain smugness about him which suggests he’s bought into this narrative. Perhaps warming the bench, with no guarantee of starting anytime soon, has pushed him to ask for a loan. Well and good perhaps, but if he really does love the club as much as he says, then you’d expect him to stay and fight for at least half a season, or more – Gibbs is an example of a player who’s ambition probably extends to helping out when needed, and that works perfectly well for the team.

    I’m totally indifferent to him leaving or staying. He’s talented enough that if he stays he can do a job, but he’s probably our 4th best center mid right now in terms of pure effectiveness in the position (behind Ozil, Cazorla, Xhaka, Coquelin). All different players doing different things, but he can’t do what they do as well as they do. He’s English and has a high media profile so he won’t go cheap, and that’s a problem since he probably wants to stay in England. Sell him to a rival? Massive risk, if he stays injury free. Sell him abroad? You’d have to accept a lower fee, and hope that he accepts a potentially lower salary.

    A loan for a year, with a fee of 8-12m, makes sense. I hope that’s what we do. I don’t think it’s the end for him, but it’d definitely be sink or swim.


    With respect to the Gnabry situation, it’s disappointing. He’s a hugely exciting player. I’ve been waiting for him to come back from injury for years. For him to go so soon, without having kicked a ball for us since coming back… well it sucks. A loan is a great idea. A sale with a buyback clause is a great idea. A sale without that, not so much. The fee would have to be huge – 25, 30m – for it to be worth it for us.

    It probably won’t be, and it’s probably because he won’t sign a new contract. Which is unfortunate, but can’t be helped. Insert the buyback clause, Arsene. Do it.


    I can’t see Mustafi not happening now, Alcacer or not. The money Barca paid is very good money, and the reality is just because you can stay afloat financially by selling one asset, doesn’t mean it isn’t a good idea to sell two (at potentially peak prices) and secure a longer-term future. I don’t know the details, but I don’t think Wenger would speak so openly unless documents have been signed, documents that are legally enforceable and would have serious consequences if not honored. I have Mustafi at 90%, Alcacer or not.

  8. I like Jack. He’s my favorite Arsenal player. I want him to be a world beater because he is Arsenal through and through. If blood had sleeves, his would be white.

    But I agree that he isn’t going to make it at the club in the current climate. Best would be to sell him to a mid table club or a foreign club and put in a reasonable buy back fee. I still want him to be an Arsenal legend so I’d like him to come back, but if not then he still deserves a career even if it’s elsewhere.

  9. According to AFCamden, Arsenal plan to sign Wilshere to a 5 year contract. I, like you, remain skeptical. Not to mention, I’m not sure I want to risk the outlay given our squad depth there, young kids in MF (Jeff, Toral, Crowley), and most of all, Jack’s injury record. I love Jack, his love of club and his effort, but supporters need to get past the hype he’s been living off of and realize the real Jack falls far short of their idea of Jack.

  10. Looks like your fear about Mustafi were unfounded, Tim. He is up on the site. Looks like Wenger is indeed setting the house in order by cleaning up and adding.

  11. After all the frustration of the summer, I hope the fans in the stadium can be more patient with the team and manager. They really need to be vocal and be right behind the team through ups and downs.

  12. I see two plausible routes back into Arsenal for Wilshere. One is that this is possibly the last season Cazorla can physically operate at a consistent level through the season. Wilshere is physically and skill wise in a similar mould, but would have to pick up some defensive skills. Positional disciple, in particular, would give him a solid edge over the often AWOL Ramsey. Cazorla himself only transitioned into his current deep lying role at 29, Wilshere could start that transition this year if he chose to.

    The second is if the club has a terrible season and fails to retain Ozil. Cazorla would still be only a part-time solution and Wilshere would be happy to come back and compete for 8 and 10 with Ramsey.

    1. Agree wholeheartedly with your reasoning. Posted something similar, but looks like you were first — wanted to acknowledge.


  13. Well that “news only” introspection didn’t last long Timothy. Face it… you were looking for love from the fans of this excellent blog 🙂

    As it is, you may be making an astute call on Jack. He needs only look at is fellow puffer Szczesny. Still, I hope you’re wrong. I like Jack, and hope he has a future here when the likes of Santi move on. I’m not hopeful, though.

    He’s too senior a player for loans. Big Sam has told hima few home truths, for in truth, Hodgson picked him when he didn’t deserve to be.

  14. Wenger not signing any players for the rest of the transfer window then not signing Mustafi 2 for 2.
    Hope your wrong on jack but to be honest I am not sure what’s best for jack go out on loan or stay and fight for he’s place in the team.
    But what is needed is a call back clause if jack does out on loan due injuries.

  15. A quick word on a few players as this window shakes out…

    Chambers. Good luck up north, son. Difficult path back, as Mustafi can play RB and we still have Debuchy and jenkinson on the books.Jenkinson himself seems to have no long term future at the club.

    Akpom is not going to make it. Not with having another lower tier loan. I also don’t have hopes for Zelalem. Shame about Gnabry — I genuinely think that he’s a more cultured version of Oxlade-Chamberlain. Wenger wanted to keep him, it seems but he’s had enough of England, being well and truly, irretrievably Pulised. Shame too about Sanogo. I may be his one and only fan at arsenal. He’s got something — big, fast, can be a handful. Maybe it’s attitude, I don’t know.

    I feel for the fringe players at this time, because it’s very stressful. I’ve had job uncertainty and been out of work. It’s horrible.

    Even as we argue over transfers and all that, there’s a human cost. These guys are workers looking for secure employment, ideally at Arsenal. Good luck to them all.

    1. When I say not going to make it, I mean at Arsenal. I liked Jay-Emmanuel Thomas, Benik Afobe and Jeremie Aladiere, who at least had some opportunities with the first team.

    2. Ah, that good old Yaya Sanogo Chaos Factor. I strongly doubt we’d have won the FA Cup in 2014 without it.

    3. Not so sure about Mustafi’s RB chops; we bought him as a CB and for more money than anyone bar Ozil (and maybe Alexis?) so that’s where he is going to play. I would think he’ll step right in for Rob Holding, which is a bit of a shame considering how well Holding has been doing. Spoiled for choice at the position then at the end of summer when we looked anything but for a while there. And then we haven’t spoken about Chambers yet who is going to Boro to try to find playing time through the Middle (I crack myself up).

      Right back seems a settled position with Bellerin, but if we’re talking about who should back him up, it’s got to be Debuchy, who is a premier league proven starter caliber player. I like Jenkinson but I like him as a human being and not as a footballer; Arsenal is just not his level and I don’t think it ever will be. Regardless, he’s got to play and he won’t get the minutes with us.

      Sanogo has incredible raw attributes but he hasn’t looked like a footballer yet. Wenger tried to send him to Ajax, famous for their youth development, but it didn’t get him very far. I think he’s in the wrong sport. Gnabry I always felt had a chance to stick with us but it has felt like there has been something between him and the coaching staff attitude wise; perhaps that’s why he was shipped off to a famous disciplinarian like Pulis. That didn’t work out at all. Woj is probably the most likely of our current and prospective loanees to contribute big minutes to the first team in the future given good performances in Italy and Cech’s advancing age, though he was still comfortably the best keeper in the PL last season (according to Squawka at least).

      1. well, he’s played RB for Germany, so we are massively overstocked. i see both Debuchy and Jenkinson going.

  16. I really like Jack, but frankly, if he opts to go to Palace instead of Roma/Valencia, then I think he’s done at Arsenal. As you’ve said, a move to a different league would expose him to a different style entirely, and it isn’t too hard to imagine a wisened Wilshere replacing an aging Cazorla from next season on.

    However, if he opts to go to Palace, it seems (from the outside anyway) that he’s taking the easy, unambitious, option with little regard for developing further and making a bid to oust the players ahead of him in the pecking order. I really can’t see how he improves anything but his fitness by playing in a Palace side in the throes of an almighty Pardew-slump.

    Maybe I’m neglecting his desire for a stable family life. But if I had the option to move away and either work at CERN/NASA, or at the ALDI down the road; you can bet I’d be on the next plane to Geneva/Houston/anywhere where Pardew isn’t.

  17. I agree, claudeivan. Well said. For a lot of us musicians, especially “fringe” players, job uncertainty and stress is part of the life. The list of players you’ve named and their circumstances really exemplify the gambler that Wenger is, has always been.

    One of the many reasons that endeared him to me. Always willing to give real talent a chance. Throwing the dice on those kids he just liked for whatever reason. Sometimes rewarded handsomely but most times not.

    A true romantic who perhaps realizing that in himself, tried to mitigate those tendencies with an overwrought sense of fiscal prudence? Who knows.

    It’s only rock n roll but I like it, yes I do.

  18. “Success is a terrible thing and a wonderful thing… Just do what you love.”

    Gene Wilder, RIP

  19. I think Jack’s loan is a great idea for him and the club, mostly for reasons already mentioned. I think the loan is also important because, while Santi is getting older, Ozil is getting closer to end of current contract.

    Wenger and Jack need to know how reliable and good Jack is to figure out whether and where he comes back — and how irreplaceable Ozil is. Jack might be the club’s best bet there, but not without playing time.

  20. jack may go on loan to crystal palace or somewhere like that but i don’t see him taking a step down from arsenal on a permanent move. likewise, arsenal won’t force him out. he’s been very unfortunate with injuries but i don’t think arsenal should throw him out with the bath water.

    where i do feel he could go and progress is manchester city. pep has always been a fan of jack wilshere and with arteta on staff to provide a better prospective on his talent, i would not be surprised if city showed an interest. one factor that might put guardiola off is wilshere’s history of questionable conduct off the pitch. it would be embarrassing if wilshere were to go to man city and find success there but couldn’t at arsenal. don’t be surprised if city shows an interest in this kid. we’ll see.

  21. the transfer window is closing for arsenal with a dull roar. fans should be excited. if lucas perez is a proper center forward, this will be the first time in recent memory where arsenal had a complete team with a good level of depth. arsenal would have made all of the signings they needed without losing anyone they didn’t want to lose. let’s see if arsenal can work their way up the table.

  22. Here’s what’s going to happen:
    1. Jack Wilshere gets over his injury problems and has a brilliant season at Roma/Bournemouth/Palace/whereever
    2. Jack then returns to Arsenal a coveted player around Europe and with only one year left on his contract
    3. We want to offer him a new one, but we’re now in a terrible bargaining position
    4. City, or some other team like that (but who are we kidding, it’s going to be City), can offer him way more wages if he signs for them
    5. He knows this, so refuses to sign with us
    6. City now have us over a barrel, and instead of getting 40-60 million pounds for him, like they at least had to pay for Stones and Sterling, they snap him up for, say, 25 million, 30 if we’re lucky (Mikki went to United for about that amount, having been one of the best midfielders in Europe the previous season, because he had one year left on his contract)
    7. All of this because we fail to properly plan ahead! (We could call this “doing a Gnabry”, but of course he’s only the latest example of players and agents pulling this stunt)
    8. Hopefully we sign Jack on a new contract before he leaves, in which case I’m happily wrong about all of the above

      1. Why, you mean because he loves Arsenal? I would agree, but we’ve seen it before (and not just from douchebags). Money talks, especially when you’ve got a greedy agent whispering in your ear. I certainly hope I’m wrong.

  23. This is how I like my transfer deadline days. Dull and uneventful. Last year we were coming to the increasingly incredulous realisation that Arsene was adding only Petr Cech, and not strengthening problem areas. The year before that, the deadline day bargain basement closing down sale shook out Danny Welbeck — whom Manchester United didn’t want — instead of the world class forward we’d ben telling Arsene we needed for 3 years. We still haven’t got him, but while Perez is clearly not our first choice, he is someone we inquired about at the start of the window, I welcome him to gunnerland, and say let’s give the lad a break and see what we can do. being involved in 28 of your team’s goals is remarkable. Those are better than Mahrez numbers, and if we wanted to shift HIM, we’d have had to pay at least twice as much. So smart from both a footballing and a financial perspective.

    I’ve always thought the window should shut at the start of the season, but I think now that it’s right this way. All the clubs don’t have all the information they need. And it’s more about the fringe players rather than the big ones.

  24. Regarding Jack and our young players in general, Wenger’s recent comments about Leicester’s players struggling in the lower reaches of professional football and how it gives them extra fight feels like a bit of backhanded criticism of our own youth players. None of our three major additions have had a red carpet ride to the top. Xhaka developed at Basel which might be the top of the Swiss league but isn’t exactly La Mesia. We all know about Perez while Mustafi started at Everton but then went to Serie B before getting a shot at Valencia. Perhaps Wenger is re-examing his own youth development methods.

    1. The vast majority of players don’t have a red carpet ride to elite teams from the time they were teens. Examining the Arsenal squad, we may have more than most because we promote a lot of teenagers to the first team: Theo, Wilshere, Bellerin, Gibbs, Ox, Chambers, Ramsey, Iwobi, Szczesny… basically the British Core. The foreign players more or less had to grind for smaller teams to make themselves good enough for Arsenal or another big club to buy them. I think that process hardens them against adversity and teaches them to be thankful to be where they are. More than the rest of the squad, the young Brits have in common a bit of fragility, not just physically but mentally as well; setbacks seem to affect them more than they should, and they don’t seem as hungry as they ought. Maybe that’s because they never really had to fight and claw for their careers and they feel a little too comfortable being where they are. It’s no coincidence a few of them are out on loan to get a taste of life outside Colney. The loan to Bournemouth will be just the thing to get Wilshere’s combative juices going again.

  25. What, no Alexandre Lacazette today? I was fully expecting that to happen.
    Sorry to see Jack Wilshere leave and I agree with PFo if we don’t get a contract extension done.

    Also, it is true that this loan doesn’t have a recall clause? Why on earth, with our notorious injury record would anyone leave Arsenal on loan without a recall clause.

    Ramsey is already out with the hammy. I don’t care how many midfielders we have, no recall clause makes no sense to me.

  26. Here are my thoughts on Jack:

    If he can stay fit and firing he can be fantastic. That is a huge IF though. He’s averaged slightly over 13 league matches per season over the past five years. If you ignore the fact that he’s a youth product and English, I really don’t think people would feel quite as strongly as they do about him. Look at Diaby…similar situation with potential and injuries, but for years people were calling for him to be sold.

    In his rare appearances over the past few years, it seems like he gets shoehorned back into the squad, throwing off the balance, and then tries to do way too much before inevitably getting himself injured again. He also seems hell bent on recreating that Norwich goal, often ignoring much better options available.

    I get the appeal, he loves the club, he’ll stand up to anyone he plays against, & he’s shown flashes of brilliance. I think that all of the time he’s spent out injured has magnified those flashes in a lot of people’s minds. To this day you see people mentioning that Barca game 5+ years ago any time someone criticizes the kid.

    All that said, I would love for him to go to Bournemouth, regain form, fitness and confidence and then come back to Arsenal to stake his claim in the starting XI. In reality, if he doesn’t end up coming back to the club, I don’t see it as a massive loss. I mean, what’s the point of having a Ferrari if it only starts up once every couple of months?

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