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.