West Ham: Forget reputation, Jack Wilshere is a better fit than Andre Gomes

With a reported deal for William Carvalho proving too expensive, both Jack Wilshere and Andre Gomes have been linked with West Ham, but which would be best?


West Ham, along with rivals Arsenal, are current members of the Premier League Crisis Club.

With zero points from three games this season, Slaven Bilic is already the hot favourite for the sack race and the positivity that came to London with Joe Hart, Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez has evaporated into a blaze of angry Hammers.

West Ham are expected to do business today on the final day of the transfer window and have become one of the ‘easy targets’ for journalists and agents to link certain players with.

The latest rumour, via The Independent, has linked the Hammers with moves for Jack Wilshere and Andre Gomes of Arsenal and Barcelona, respectively. 

Bilic has - so far - failed in a move for Sporting Lisbon's William Carvalho, and is looking at midfield reinforcements.

If Gomes or Wilshere were to come to the London Stadium on a loan deal, which one would be the best option?

Barcelona to West Ham?

According to the Daily Telegraph, West Ham are currently engaged in a metaphorical tug-of-war with local rivals Tottenham Hotspur for the loan signing of Portuguese international Andre Gomes. 

Just 12 months ago, Gomes was one of the hottest midfield prospects in Europe and had just made the move to Barcelona from Valencia from a fee of up to €55 million.

He was at the top of his game and had achieved the dream of many by stepping out to the camera flashes of the Catalan media.

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Yet, Gomes' year peaked before it had even started. He made 17 starts in La Liga last season with an average rating of 6.65 (as per whoscored.com), which was the 20th highest in the Barcelona squad.

The Portuguese international was often made the scapegoat for poor Barca performances, and his signing was regarded as a failure.

Now behind new signing Paulinho in the Barcelona midfield, Gomes is surplus to requirements at Barcelona and could be on his way to London.

The Wilshere conundrum

Where do you even start with Jack Wilshere? Once regarded as the English Andres Iniesta - for about 90 minutes - and the saving grace of England's midfield, his career has slipped devastatingly over the last five years. 

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With ten injuries between 2011 and 2016, Wilshere only made 66 league appearances in that period.

Last season's loan move to Bournemouth was supposed to be the tonic that Hitchin-born Wilshere needed to rejuvenate his career, but zero goals, two assists and Eddie Howe's rejection to buy him on a permanent basis plummeted him further into limbo.

He is currently on the comeback to full fitness, but recent quotes from Arsene Wenger suggest that his path to Arsenal's first-team is bleak:

If he gets back to his best & wants to stay, we have to sit down, I think, later in the season. I don't decide that. I'm open with Jack. We have honest conversations. I'm open to what is the best for him. He is at the stage of his career where he needs to play & I can't guarantee him that today." Arsene Wenger

If things couldn't get worse for Wilshere, he was recently sent-off in an Arsenal U23s match against Manchester City U23s at the Emirates Stadium a couple of weeks ago. 

Gomes or Wilshere?

So Bilic has two midfielders in front of him that are desperate to salvage their careers. The first thing to outline is that they are not identical in their playing styles.

Gomes stands at 6'2 whereas Wilshere is only 5'6, meaning that their presences in the middle of the park are physically different.

That being said, the Englishman has more of a dogged style of play and comes off best in the majority of his duels.

Last season, Wilshere won 59.82% of his duels whereas Gomes only won 41.29% of his battles. The Portuguese midfielder also conceded 22 more fouls that Wilshere (40 to 18), highlighting his clumsy nature in defensive actions. 

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What may surprise a few of you is the comparison in the pair's creativity. Wilshere comes out on top in both key passes (32 to 12) and chances created (34 to 13), which goes against the idea that a Barcelona midfielder from the peninsula would be the better creative option for West Ham.

The Englishman also had a higher success rate for take-ons, with 70.37% of his attempts completed compared to Gomes' 53.13%. 

Here is an overall comparison of the two's key statistics...

Jack Wilshere v Andre Gomes (2016/17)
Chances Created
Take-On
Success rate

Duels Won
%

Interceptions
Successful Forward Passes
Jack Wilshere 
(Bournemouth)

34
70.37%
59.82%
13
603
Andre Gomes
(Barcelona)

13
53.13%
41.29%
11
525

RealSport Verdict: It has to be... Wilshere?

When I first went to write this article, the idea that Wilshere would come out on top would have been laughable! However, the statistics, along with a second thought about West Ham's needs, have led me down the path of the 25-year-old English midfielder. 

With Mark Noble's capabilities on the decline, West Ham are on the verge of losing a tenacious leader in the middle of the park. Whilst few West Ham fans would suggest Wilshere as the ideal replacement - I'm not doing that, promise - he certainly matches Noble's profile a lot better than Gomes would. 

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With West Ham bringing in so much international talent over the last few years, and the question of identity following the stadium move, the Hammers need players that understand the magnitude of the club.

Whilst his allegiances are primarily with Arsenal, Wilshere understands West Ham and knows how important it is to fight for the badge. 

Yes, Gomes may be the headline acquisition that would sell more shirts, but he was truly awful at Barcelona last season. The chances of his Valencia form re-emerging are not guaranteed and Bilic - who is in his own crisis  - would have to drag the confidence and ability back out of him.

With that in mind, Wilshere would be the lower risk signing and would arguably fit West Ham's midfield in a much better manner than Gomes.

  1. POLL: Which player would be the best signing for West Ham?

    1. Jack Wilshere
    2. Andre Gomes
    89 votes
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Jack Colman

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I'm a 22-year-old Chelsea fan (since 2000, before you ask...) with a strong love of both Cesar Azpilicueta and Isco. I'm a student at University of Nottingham, studying English, Spanish and Portuguese, and spent last year living in Argentina and Brazil.

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