Jack Wilshire was a player few people expected to leave Arsenal on loan – the England man however will spend the season on the south coast after opting to join Bournemouth on a season-long deal.
The move has raised plenty of eyebrows and several key figures in the game have questioned the deal. Wilshire nonetheless, has made a well-calculated choice.
Former Arsenal star and high-profile pundit Paul Merson has openly criticised the motives behind the move, highlighting that some of Arsene Wenger’s other Englishmen, namely Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, have also seen reduced game time without being sent out on loan.
The move however, seems to be a genuine attempt by both Arsenal and the player to help him recover his best form.
Thanks to all the fans for the amazing reception yesterday, looking forward to the season ahead ? pic.twitter.com/yLt4XWGqPG
— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) September 4, 2016
The arrival of Granit Xhaka into the Gunners midfield has further intensified the battle for starting places and Wilshire was already facing an uphill task to force his way into the side, following two seasons ravaged by injury.
It seems though that Arsene Wenger had no intention of selling him and that it was the player himself, desperate for football, who put forward the loan idea. It seems like a wise move.
The 24-year-old’s career has stalled due to his injury problems and he simply cannot afford to spend a third consecutive season watching from the sidelines. A spell at a club with less competition for places gives his a much better chance.
It also appears he has chosen well by opting to join the Cherries. Once it emerged that Wenger was willing to sanction a loan deal, over 20 clubs were reportedly interested, including Italian giants Roma and AC Milan.
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) September 4, 2016
Former England midfielder Paul Scholes said this week that Wilshire was aiming too low by overlooking the Italian pair in favour of Bournemouth.
The playmaker however has clearly based his decision on his chances of getting regular football. The competition for places in Rome and Milan might well have meant that he would still have spent time on the bench, only further from home.
It is clear that in Wilshire’s mind the move offers a way back into the Arsenal team rather than an escape route.
Out of the English clubs to show interest, Crystal Palace were his main alternative. After meeting with both Eddie Howe and Alan Pardew the decision was made to head to the Vitality Stadium.
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) September 2, 2016
It seems that style of play was the key factor. As a ball-playing midfielder, Wilshire may well have been aware that Howe’s team averaged 51 per cent possession last term with the Eagles more counter-attacking approach meaning they had just 48 per cent of the ball.
Ultimately though, the player will find that where he has chosen to spend the season will unfortunately become irrelevant if he cannot maintain his fitness for at least the majority of the campaign.
Wilshire featured for England during the summer but he will soon find that his profile gradually begins to drop if he cannot play regularly.