Jack Wilshere has said a lot since his loan move to Bournemouth, with many of his quotes pointing to a permanent exit from the Gunners, but his most recent comments may suggest otherwise.
Speaking to The Times, Wilshere said: “It’s difficult for me to say because I love Arsenal and I’ve had great times there, and they’ve been great for me, and I can still see myself playing there”.
Crucially, he says he can still see himself playing there. That completely rules out the suggestions from some that he has already decided he will not return to the club after some kind of fall out. I think we can put that to bed. What is clear though, is that the midfielder, now 24 has playing time at the forefront of his mind when thinking about his future. He continued:
“But who knows what the future holds? I’ve got a year left when I go back there.
“At the moment I’m just trying to have a season where it puts me in a good position at the end of the year, I’m improved as a player and Arsenal want me back, and we’ll see where we go from there.
“I always thought to myself ‘of course I love Arsenal’ but if there comes a time where I have to leave, then I have to leave, you know? If I go back and I’m not going to be playing, then, of course, I have to think about things.
I certainly think that at his best, Wilshere has the quality to be a starting central midfielder for Arsenal. The issue for him has always been that he has failed to prove his fitness for a sustained amount of time, and thus, never being able to nail down a place in the starting eleven and make a spot his own.
“But at the moment I’m concentrating on Bournemouth. I want to put myself in a position where I go back next year and I’m a better player, and I’m fitter, and I can prove to people I can play week in, week out, and I’m ready for the challenge.” Wilshere added.
Would you like to see Wilshere remain at the club beyond next season? Personally I think if he continues to play well at Bournemouth and prove his fitness then he should certainly have a place in the Arsenal squad. What is hard to see though is their being clear route for him to play regularly in central midfield. Granit Xhaka, Mohammed Elneny and Francis Coquelin are all unlikely to be leaving anytime soon, but injury issues to Santi Cazorla and unhappiness from Aaron Ramsey could potentially see a space vacated alongside one of those three holding midfielders. I think these quotes indicate he wants to return to Arsenal and I’m happy to hear it.