Reports say Manchester City want Jack Wilshere. Why would Arsenal let him go?


Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere is the latest big-name English player to be linked with a big-money move to Manchester City.

As the Citizens aim to increase their quota of homegrown talent following the departures of James Milner, Frank Lampard and Micah Richards this summer, Manuel Pellegrini has now failed in two bids (the latest for over $60 million) to grab Raheem Sterling from Liverpool and is also said to be interested in Aston Villa’s central midfielder Fabian Delph.

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Reports from various outlets in the UK claim that City are now ready to table a bid for Arsenal’s Wilshere in the coming days.

The 23-year-old just scored his first two goals for the English national team — both of which were screamers that you can watch here — and had a strong finish to the season after struggling yet again with an ankle injury he suffered against Manchester United last November. Despite his various injuries during his young career, it is easy to forget Wilshere is still only 23 but has racked up 155 appearances for the Gunners.

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Then again with various off-the-field incidents cropping up over the past 12 months — Wilshere was caught smoking in public twice, then pictured with a shisha pipe and was recently fined $60,000 by the FA for singing a derogatory song about Arsenal’s bitter rivals Tottenham following their FA Cup success — it’s not to difficult to remember that Wilshere is young and still adjusting to being in the public eye but his precocious talents as a soccer player mean he is hounded by fans across the globe and will be wanted by the best teams in the world.

With Man City ready to offer in excess of $45 million to Arsenal for Wilshere, the Gunners would be mad to let him go. Not only because it will strengthen a direct rival for the PL title but after several seasons plagued by injury, Wilshere finally seems to be injury free and is coming into his own. But, if you look around Arsenal’s midfield, is he a guaranteed starter? With the unlikely tandem of Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin working so well in central midfield down the stretch last season, plus Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Tomas Rosicky around, should the Gunners cash in on Wilshere?

That’s up to them. But Wilshere, a self-confessed Arsenal fan who has been at the club since the age of nine, will certainly not want to leave the north London side even if it means picking up some extra wages at the Etihad Stadium or even the prospect of challenging for the PL title more seriously. Man City badly need an overhaul in central midfield with Fernando struggling in his debut season in the PL, Fernandinho having a Sophomore slump and Yaya Toure’s influence fading fast. Wilshere would be perfect for City, but he is unlikely to see it that way unless his long-time mentor Arsene Wenger tells him he isn’t a guaranteed starter at Arsenal and fancies cashing in on him to buy a new goalkeeper, striker and maybe another more powerful central midfielder to rubber-stamp Arsenal’s status as genuine title contenders in the coming years.

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Wilshere’s darting runs, mesmeric close-control, sensational finishing (which has seen him win the PL Goal of the Season for two years running) and wonderful array of passing means he is tailor-made for Arsenal but with a muddle of similar players running around their midfield, is he the one Wenger can afford to let go? Absolutely not. Wilshere is the type of player Arsenal, and England, should build their team around. He can dictate the tempo and is capable, at just 23 years of age, of taking the game by the scruff of the neck and dominating midfield. He is a modern central midfield who can play further forward but seems to have more of an impact in a deep-lying role where he can roam with the ball and make late runs into the box.

For all of those reasons City want and need Wilshere. For all of those reasons Arsenal must not be tempted to cash in on a sensational talent who is finally beginning to blossom after 14 years of careful cultivation from Wenger and his coaching staff.

Carlos Vela scored a celestial goal. We are blessed to have seen it

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Carlos Vela is making all other spectacular individual MLS seasons look run of the mill.

I mean, look at the gumption on this guy.

[ VIDEO: Rooney sent off, Kamara scores golazo ]

The Cancun-born playmaker left the San Jose Earthquakes back line on the beach with a soft shoe routine to give LAFC its third goal in a 4-0 win on Thursday

Vela, 30, now has 25 goals and 11 assists in 25 league matches for LAFC this season. He added two goals and an assist in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play.

But this one, yeah, this one takes the cake.

First, there’s Vela’s non-chalant dummy before picking up the pass.

Then, there’s Florian Jungwirth’s body language during and after his being cooked with a nutmeg. That’s an entire mood.

Next, Vela dribbles around the keeper and allows a slide tackler so glide past him before finishing with aplomb, the magic touch his going near post as if to say, “Can I beat this guy a second time, or do I have to use the easier route?”

Diego Rossi also had a goal and an assist, while Mark-Anthony Kaye continued his strong season with an assist to ex-Fiorentina prospect Joshua Perez. It’s a first MLS goal for the California-born Perez, now 21.

WATCH: Rooney sees red for forearm shiver, Kamara scores golazo

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Midweek MLS provided plenty to talk about on Wednesday, with two red cards and a golazo in one match alone.

The two main talking points from the New York Red Bulls’ 2-1 win over DC United weren’t really part of what led the victors to three points.

[ MORE: Europa League preview ]

How? Well, one of the world’s marquee names earned a red card via VAR and a returning star scores an absolute stunner, that’s how.

Here’s Ola Kamara’s debut marker for the Black-and-Red, adding to a record which included 49 goals in 97 matches between Columbus and the LA Galaxy before moving to the Chinese Super League for a wildly disappointing time with Shenzhen FC.

All of that is forgotten.

As for the Rooney incident, the Red Bulls already led 1-0 when DC’s star striker went forearm shiver on Cristian Casseres Jr.

It’s the second red of the season for Rooney, who is set for Derby County in January.

Amro Tarek was later sent off for the Red Bulls, who moved ahead of DC in the standings. Kaku and Daniel Royer had RBNY’s goals.

Newcastle takeover could be back on if in holiday relegation battle

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How much do Newcastle United supporters dislike their owner Mike Ashley right now?

Enough that this report is likely to condemn many to hoping their favorite club in the world is in the Bottom 3 come Christmas.

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The Chronicle’s Mark Douglas speculates that Ashley will lower his asking price for the club if it is in a relegation fight come December — something that looks certain after the Steve Bruce-led Magpies got bossed around by promoted Norwich City.

Nothing But Newcastle transcribed Douglas’ chatter from his podcast, in which he says,

“It wouldn’t surprise me if we hear more in December because there are still people sniffing around that football club and if the team are in the bottom three, there’ll be people thinking they can get a bargain out of Mike Ashley again. … He will probably more open to listening to lower offers in January and December which is what happened last December. He was basically saying ‘take it off my hands, you now have to take the risk’'”

This is notable for two reasons. First: the social experiment of wondering how many fans could see themselves rooting for their team to take a major and perilous back step just to see the back of a man they perceive is at the root of their failures (and that perception is widespread in this case).

But second, we can see if this rumor comes true because it’s difficult to imagine Newcastle as comfortably mid table by Christmas.

Fan protests and anger are nothing new, but here’s an effort to show how wobbly Ashley’s reputation is on Tyneside: Fans have taken to selling a black and white striped shirt with player name and number but no sponsor just so they can have a Newcastle jersey that doesn’t put money into Ashley’s pockets. And this is after he broke the club’s transfer record twice in one year.

If we’ve learned anything from the past few seasons, though, it’s that boycotts and anger will spur Ashley into insisting that he’s willing to sell and just conveniently enough it will be before the January transfer window. He “won’t be able to buy any players” with the takeover in play, and talks will hit a wall come late January, when they’ll loan a couple young players from Top Six sides.

Yes he spent significant money on Joelinton, Allen Saint-Maximin, and others this summer, but one decent window doesn’t make a culture. Count us amongst the skeptical, for now.

Messi back in training, could be fit for Betis

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Lionel Messi was back in full training again on Wednesday and may be fit to face Real Betis in the Spanish league on Sunday.

Messi had been training separately from the squad since injuring his right calf in the preseason.

He missed the team’s 1-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao in the league opener on Friday.

Barcelona has not said how long it expects Messi to be sidelined.

[ MORE: Europa League preview ]

Coach Ernesto Valverde is also dealing with injuries to forwards Luiz Suarez and Ousmane Dembele.

Dembele is certain to miss Sunday’s match at the Camp Nou because of a left thigh injury that should keep him out for about five weeks.

Suarez also isn’t likely to play this weekend because of a muscle injury sustained before halftime of Friday’s game in Bilbao.

Two-time defending champion Barcelona hadn’t loss a league opener in 10 seasons.

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