Arsenal would be putting an enormous amount of fate in Jack Wilshere by offering him a new contract, but are they right to do so?
The midfielder’s current contract with the club expires in the summer and the feeling was that, after many years of injuries and false dawns, he would leave for a fresh start else where.
Yet, games against Doncaster and BATE Borisov have offered a glimpse of the talent Wilshere still possesses. Now rumours are circulating that Arsenal intend to offer Jack Wilshere a new four year deal.
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
Arsene Wenger rates Wilshere very highly and has shown plenty of times in the past that he’s prepared to wait for a player to overcome their injury problems, rather than just ruthlessly get rid of them. It’s that unerring faith in his player’s ability that has convinced Wenger to continually hand out chances until it becomes painfully apparent it’s not going to work anymore, as was the case with Abou Diaby.
Much like Diaby, a fully fit Wilshere is too valuable a player to lose for nothing.
He offers the Arsenal midfield something different. The ability to drift past players with the ball and link-up with other players in small spaces is a very useful skill set to have in a team that can, at times, look static and clunky when they attack.
Doncaster and BATE Borisov may not be the strongest of opponents, but signs are that Wilshere has lost none of those skills.
There is, though, that lingering doubt that will always exist. Arsenal kept Diaby around for many of the same reasons, but their patience was not rewarded.
A point in Wilshere’s favour is that, for all his struggles, his injury woes aren’t nearly as bad as Diaby’s.
His injuries tend to be of the impact variety, caused by over-the-top, needlessly aggressive challenges from opponents who simply can’t keep up with him.
Wilshere didn’t allow this to curtail his strongest asset – his ball control in tight areas – but, in his immaturity, may have risked injury more than it was necessary by over-running the ball and diving into tackles.
In effect, then, offering Wilshere a new contract would be a show of faith in Wilshere’s maturity.
Nobody knows his body better than he does, and by this point he should have a better understanding of what he can and can’t do.
He’s always going to be subject to heavy tackles, even when playing for the u23s, but some subtle adjustments to his playing style could go a long way.
The decision, in the end, is helped by Arsenal’s lack of dependency on Wilshere.
He’s no longer a first team regular, nor is he the future of club and country.
He’s simply a good player who may or may not be useful depending on how fit he is, and in that sense, there may not be too much harm in keeping him around.