Pep Guardiola has said that Jack Wilshere left a ‘massive impression’ when Arsenal played Barcelona, despite claiming at the time that he had plenty just like him in his B ranks.

Wilshere has been linked with a ton of clubs since he went out on loan this season. One of which is, of course, Manchester City.

It’s no surprise to hear Guardiola come out with anything that’s designed to unsettle a player he’s interested in. It is, after all, his way of doing business despite his ‘nice guy’ image. It was under his charge that Barcelona waged war with Arsenal in order to get Cesc Fabregas.

People will point to the comments merely being game-specific, but Arsenal fans will rightly be wary.

Speaking ahead of City’s game against Bournemouth in the Premier League tonight, Guardiola said, “I remember Barcelona when we played Arsenal – he left a massive impression.

“I know the problem was just the injuries. He is going to be back to being one of the best midfield players in England by far.

“He has the special quality with the ball, dribbling as a holding midfielder to attack central defenders – it’s not easy.”

Those comments when he was at Barca? “Wilshere is a top player. He is an excellent player, not just Arsenal, but also for the national team. [But] he is lucky because we have many players in the second team like him but he plays because there is no pressure at his club to win titles.”

Why not go and sign one of those then, Pep?

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Meanwhile, Eddie Howe, who would also quite like to sign Wilshere, said about the Arsenal man who, I’m certain, will be in an Arsenal shirt next season, “Jack is a leader but he’s different to some of the leaders I’ve worked with in the past..

“He’s never shied away from the ball. He’s very brave in that respect and that is certainly the quality we are going to need on the pitch to change our form around.

“I wouldn’t say he has a vocal presence in the dressing room. You require different things from different people, so there’s no problem with that. He’s a really important player because of his experience.

“The lads look to him as a leader within the group, so that tells you how important he is to us. Jack’s been very good in dealing with these results.

“When you play for Arsenal and come to Bournemouth, it’s a totally different experience on many levels.

“I think that’s why he chose us because he wanted these experiences, not the pain of losing necessarily but that comes with the territory to a degree.

“But he’s been very professional; he’s rolled his sleeves up and been willing to fight for the team. That’s all you can ask.

“I feel this season we have improved a lot of aspects of our play because of him.

“He’s producing more match-defining moments – the pass for Josh King’s goal at Everton was sublime and there are more moments for him like that to come.”