Earlier this week, Jack Wilshere told the media “things have changed” in his contract situation, and he’s “no closer” to a new deal, so what’s the cause of the problem?
Wilshere’s contract situation has slowly dragged on over the last few months. It was meant to be agreed in December, then late December, then January, and now it’s March. Somehow player and club are still just as far away from reaching an agreement as ever, so let’s look at why that might be.
As we’ve heard in the media, Arsenal are apparently currently offering Wilshere a wage reduction, with performance-based bonuses. In the end, he should still make more money, but only if he stays fit and in the team.
Thinking about it logically, this is a fair offer for someone with the midfielder’s injury record. With the recently introduced Short Term Cost Control wage restrictions, Arsenal can’t afford to pay players big wages if they’re going to spend their time rehabilitating and not adding value on the pitch.
Wilshere might not see it that way though. It’s 17 years since he first joined the club, and he might feel like he deserves more for sticking around.
I think this is the most likely reason for the delay, but there are other possibilities.
2. An offer from abroad
With Wilshere close to finally putting together an injury free season, it’s possible he’s received a tempting offer from elsewhere. Personally I don’t think it’s very likely, because we haven’t heard anything about it even in the gossip columns.
However, since he’s now in the final months of his contract, foreign clubs are within their rights to negotiate. One of them could potentially offer to give him a better deal than Arsenal are suggesting.
3. Falling out with Wenger
This one seems even less likely than a secret outside offer, since Wilshere is such a regular in the Arsenal team at the moment. He’s starting all of the big games, which I doubt would happen if he’d had a major disagreement with the boss.
The only thing that suggests this could be the case is that Wenger’s language when asked about Wilshere’s contract has started to shift from “we will sit down with him” to saying the midfielder is “yet to make a decision”. He’s no longer protecting the 26-year-old from the public knowing he’s the one stalling on a deal.
4. Arsenal’s performances
Unfortunately Wilshere’s time in the team this season hasn’t been a particularly successful period. Since his first league start in December Arsenal have only won four matches in the competition.
Perhaps he feels that he can’t show his best in the current side, or he wants to play in a more competitive team. Maybe he doesn’t want to keep missing out on Champions League football.
In all honesty, although his talent and commitment have been evident in recent months, it still doesn’t feel like he knows his exact role in the side. He can dribble past players and play inch-perfect long balls, but he’s not linking up with his teammates as well as he needs to.
Whatever the reason for the delay, hopefully the player and the club can sort it out soon and move on.