“That would not be reasonable,” said Arsene Wenger, furrowing his brow at a press conference on Thursday.
The Arsenal manager was responding to a question about Jack Wilshere’s future. After a sterling year, the 26-year-old has already been offered a new long-term deal, albeit on reduced wages. With Wolves circling, Wenger remains adamant that the player’s future must be decided before the World Cup.
With his contract due to expire, however, Wilshere should pause before agreeing to an extension. Is it really in his best interests to stay?
Wilshere to Wolves?
Wolves have enjoyed a phenomenal season under Nuno. Buoyed by the cash of Fosun International and the networks of Jorge Mendes, the Molineux men have sailed amiably towards promotion.
With Premier League status finally secured last week, they have begun casting their eyes towards reinforcements. Goncalo Guedes and André Gomes are just two of the names giving fans in the Black Country palpitations.
Wilshere, however, would prove to be an excellent signing. Provided he can stay fit, the Stevenage man would offer demonstrable class and experience in the Premier League, whilst adding a luxuriant technique to a side that emphasises pacy counter-attacks.
The lack of a transfer fee helps any move make financial sense too. Wilshere may command high wages, but a successful season under the Portuguese would cause his value to rocket. In 12 months time, Wolves could find themselves pocketing a hefty sum for a player they picked up for free.
Would Wilshere want to trade London for Birmingham?
All of this depends, of course, on Wilshere even being interested in a move North. It’s well-known that he was disappointed by Arsenal’s contract terms, and he has so far refused to commit to the club he first joined as a nine-year-old. An abortive loan spell at Bournemouth last year, however, didn’t show his capabilities as he might have hoped.
Wilshere has always looked talented when surrounded by better players. When given a position of responsibility, however, he has been less impressive.
At Wolves, he would command a chunk of responsibility in midfield. Ruben Neves is the undoubted star at Molineux, but his displays have attracted scouts from some of the biggest clubs on the continent. The Portuguese might not even be there by the time any move for Wilshere is concluded.
With Arsène Wenger's future finally decided on Thursday, however, Wilshere may feel that the time is right for a departure from North London. Arsenal are at a cross roads, with an exasperated fan base and a future that is unsure.
Moving to Wolves would bring him out of that spotlight, allowing him to focus purely on delivering consistently. The rejuvenations enjoyed by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and (to a lesser extent) Theo Walcott, demonstrate that life beyond London Colney is nothing to be afraid of.
All things considered, Wilshere has a difficult choice to make. Stay at the club who built him, or leave for a club that could help him grow. At 26, it could prove to be the most crucial decision of his career.
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