Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has publicly stated his belief that Jack Wilshere should opt against signing a new contract with Arsenal, where his progress as a player could be hindered by competition for midfield places in north London.
The 24-year-old Englishman, who has been developing well and a little under the radar on the south Coast with AFC Bournemouth this season, continues to mature as a player with his defensive contribution and positional awareness a constant improvement.
Wilshere, who played the full 90 during their thrilling 4-3 win over Liverpool on Sunday, has now started nine of Bournemouth’s last ten Premier League matches, his personal best run of consistent minutes in four years.
His undeniable ability has been heavily disrupted by a plethora of ankle and knee injuries, but his brave decision to leave home comforts at the Emirates on a season-long loan deal have been rewarded thus far.
Arsène Wenger has already publicly stated his intention to give Jack a new contract extension, but Carragher feels the midfielder should reject it in order to continue progressing as a player in the long-term.
As quoted by Sky Sports, Carragher said, “He’s yet to get off the mark [Edit – no other player has hit the woodwork more in the Premier League] but he’s created more chances than any other Bournemouth player and each week he’s getting better and better.
“That comes with the fitness side of it but also confidence; knowing that you’re going to play week in, week out – there’s nothing better as a player.”
He continued, stating that he’s got a “massive decision” to make as he’d probably be unsure about starting on a weekly basis at Arsenal given the level of competition there now.
“He’s got a massive decision to make,” Carragher continued. “I saw what Arsene Wenger said about him signing a new deal but if I’m being honest, if I were Jack Wilshere, I wouldn’t go back to Arsenal.
“I don’t see how he fits in. He’s playing in a No 10 position now and Mesut Ozil is better in that position than him so he won’t play there.”
Playing in an advanced midfield role as the number ten for Bournemouth, it’s highly unlikely that he’d play there on more than a handful of occasions at Arsenal considering Mesut Özil’s presence in that position.
Central midfield is another area of the field stacked with competition: Mohamed Elneny, Francis Coquelin, Santi Cazorla (when fit) and Granit Xhaka are just a handful of players who can play there – meaning Wilshere could find it tough to get regular minutes.
“At least now we’re judging him as a player and that’s why I think he’s got to consider other clubs that might come in for him or stay at Bournemouth,” Carragher finished.
Then again, should Cazorla leave in the summer, a space suddenly opens up…