Jack Wilshere spent ten years as a pro at Arsenal. And in those ten years, he amassed a measly 125 or so appearances. That number normally isn’t enough to earn the status of ‘fan favourite.’
But Jack Wilshere is one of us as well as being one of the most talented footballers to be produced by our Academy. And it’s why (at the time of me writing this) Arsenal are potentially looking to offer our former number 10 a way back into the fold.
Before anyone jumps up and proclaims this is just an offer to train with the club – much like Wilshere was doing in Italy with Serie B side, Como – you are absolutely correct. The offer extended by Wilshere’s former teammate Mikel Arteta is simply to come back to London Colney and regain sharpness. To stay within the realms of professional team training. To keep the mindset needed if Wilshere is to be offered a professional contract elsewhere.
But many are looking at Wilshere and are wondering – could Wilshere add anything if we offered him a deal?
Let’s look at the doubts first.
29 years old and in the last three years with both West Ham and Championship side Bournemouth, Jack has played just 30 times. That is despite him confessing to be completely injury free for the majority of that time.
That means that he has not impressed the coaches with his playing levels. He has been left out of the side because he hasn’t been good enough, or perhaps he hasn’t adapted to new systems.
But there are some positives.
Firstly, if we offered Jack a pay-as-you-play deal, it would cost us next to nothing. Jack would be happy with a nominal figure if he was given the chance to stay with Arsenal.
But it isn’t really about money. Can Jack offer something?
If he is actually fit and injury free, then yes. Jack has talent – which could be honed and moulded by the top level of coaching available at our club. And he would have a fantastic effect on the dressing room – both for the Hale End boys and the established internationals.
A fully fit Wilshere is a rare sight indeed – and that is what any prospective offer would hinge on, but in truth there is precious little risk in offering Jack a short term deal that would primarily be performance bonus-related.
Who would lose out? No one. And we would gain a player who could add a little something – whether that be on or off the pitch.
We would also see that The Arsenal Way isn’t quite dead yet. Welcoming back our former players into the fold is a class move indeed and in-keeping with our traditions and values.
So let’s get Jack back. Bucket hat and anti-spurs chants included.