Some Arsenal fans may have even kept their faith in Arsène Wenger through the dimmest of times with regards to strengthening the side with a defender and striker, but very few would have seen the reported demands imposed by fan favourite Jack Wilshere coming.
With the £34 million signing of Granit Xhaka from Borussia Mönchengladbach adding itself to the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla, Mohamed Elneny and Francis Coquelin, the avenue of the injury-ravaged Wilshere to first-team football has been complicated further.
As outlined by the BBC, Wilshere expressed his desires late in the transfer market to leave the club on loan, with Arsenal acquiescing to his wishes. The offers have since come pouring in to take the 24-year-old midfielder, a list of clubs headlined by AS Roma, A.C. Milan, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace.
Both the player and the club have made their decision, which, according to Sky Sports News, will see Wilshere become a Cherries player by the end of the day. Has the right choice been made?
The England international might well have fought his way into the Arsenal first XI, providing he stayed fit this season, but a temporary switch to Bournemouth will, of course, offer the highly-regarded playmaker greater guarantees of first-team football.
Roma’s proposition is also sure to have attracted Wilshere and Arsenal in terms of his development, embracing a different culture of football, but with the Italians already well stocked in the central midfield position with the likes of Daniele De Rossi, Radja Nainggolan, Leandro Paredes and co., the scenario wouldn’t prove to be too different to the one currently experienced at the Emirates Stadium.
A move to Bournemouth sees Wilshere remain within the confines of Premier League football, playing for a side befitting of the Englishman’s expansive style of play. The fact the Arsenal academy graduate has ended up in the hands of Eddie Howe could also be quite telling for the future, with the English manager tipped on more than one occasion to be Wenger’s successor once the latter calls time on his managerial career.
Should Bournemouth line-up in a 4-3-3 formation, utilised against Manchester United and Crystal Palace this season, the Arsenal man is likely to relieve some of the pressure imposed upon new signing Lewis Cook this summer.
In the 14 games played by Wilshere last season for the Gunners, the England international averaged a better passing accuracy (84%) than Cook’s 79% meanwhile starring for Leeds United in the Championship. His other midfield counterparts, Arter and Surman, averaged 86% and 85% respectively, going some way into demonstrating the Cherries’ ability to cater to Wilshere’s style.
None of Howe’s options prove to be as threatening in front of goal as Wilshere, who registered a 67% shot accuracy in 2015/16, whereas the playmaker also scored more league goals (two) than any of the current candidates, despite the shortage of games due to injuries.
The 24-year-old also manages to convey the combative nature of Surman and, in particular, Arter, who won 42% and 47% of their duels. Wilshere tops that with 51%, demonstrating versatility that is sure to be welcomed with good grace at the Vitality Stadium. However, Wilshere’s injury woes remain his greatest enemy and the most likely factor that could derail what looks every bit like a huge upgrade in calibre for a developing side like Bournemouth.