Jack Wilshere recently completed his move to the London Stadium as the promise of a £100,000 per week deal with West Ham appears to be enough to scupper any potential deal with Turkish giants Fenerbahce. The move makes a lot of sense for Wilshere as he lives in London with his young family and in many ways, it will be a familiar setting only with a new challenge. As much as it makes sense for Wilshere, does it make sense for the club to be shelling out a fortune on the former Arsenal man?
Jack the Lad
When looking back at Jack Wilshere’s career, one could be forgiven for thinking he’s now going to be entering the twilight of his career after establishing a respectable legacy with Arsenal. Amazingly, that isn’t the case as Wilshere is only 26-years-old. If it feels like Wilshere has been on the Premier league scene for an eternity that’s because he has been, as the Stevenage-born player made his debut for Arsenal back in 2008 in a game the Gunners won four-nil against Blackburn Rovers.
At 16 years and 256 days, Wilshere became Arsenal’s youngest ever league debutant when he made an 84th-minute substitute appearance for Robin Van Persie against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park. Two years later, he would, at the age of 18 years and 222 days, make his senior England debut against Hungary, which would make him the 12th youngest England debutant of all time.
Wilshere enjoyed a flying start to his career and it’s clear looking back at it now that success came at an incredible speed, and possibly even too quickly. Sadly though, when considering the career of Jack Wilshere so far, you can’t help but feel he has slightly underachieved and that is largely down to the fact that he has suffered from so many terrible injuries.
According to the Express, former Hammer Dean Ashton has urged Wilshere not to join West Ham and rather head for a warmer climate in Turkey where the pace of the game is a bit slower. Ashton’s advice is based on the idea that he will thrive there and get a chance to regain full fitness after the last ten years, which can only be described as stop-start.
A Decade of Frustration
In the ten years that Wilshere has been at the Emirates, he has made 198 appearances for the Gunners and then also played 27 times for Bournemouth after agreeing to a loan deal during the 2016/2017 season. In the winter of 2010, Wilshere was sent to Bolton on loan until the end of the season and made 14 appearances for the Trotters. That adds up to 239 appearances over 10 years, which comes out at just under 24 a season.
Considering the Premier League season is 38 games long, plus the fixtures from the League Cup, FA Cup as well as the Champions League and recently the Europa League for Arsenal, it would seem that Wilshere has missed about half a season every year for the past 10 years through injury.
At £100,000 a week, it looks like the West Ham board could be going down the same route they did last season. Much of the relegation scrap was down to a poor transfer policy and player recruitment. Still today, the signing of Jordan Hugill baffles most supporters and with Manuel Pellegrini in the hot seat now, it’s not surprising to see the ex-Preston forward heading back to the Championship with QPR leading the race to sign him after only playing 22 minutes of football for the Hammers.
Can Wilshere Finally Come Good?
Asking whether Wilshere can come good isn’t to say he’s had a dreadful career – far from it – as this is a player who has represented his country 34 times and scored two international goals. Only, to achieve his full potential and be a major player for West Ham, Jack Wilshere needs to stay off the treatment table and be available to inspire the Hammers to league success by pushing towards the top six and driving his team forward in the cups.
West Ham can’t afford to assemble a team that goes through a season of disappointment again by flirting with more possible relegation disaster. That’s where they left off last season and have it all to do to avoid losing more ground on the clubs around them. The reality is that, of the sixth of August 2018, Betway has West Ham at odds of 7/1 to be relegated, which illustrates how important is it for a marquee player like Jack Wilshere to be available all season.
The positive news is that last season the 26-year-old made 38 appearances for Arsenal, scoring twice and assisting six times. With Lanzini out for the season, this could be a huge signing, as Wilshere likes to get forward and when all is said and done, few players in the Premiership can match his vision.
If the rumoured figure of £75m has been given to Pellegrini as a transfer budget, then the Chilean is using it wisely, as Wilshere is a free agent. When looking at the deal of paying £15m for Wilshere for three years of service, which is inclusive of wages, it looks a super bit of business, provided the midfielder can stay fit.
You would be hard-pressed to say Wilshere’s career-threatening injury record is behind him but there have been positive signs over the last 12 months that indicate he could be ready for more first-team football. That was the reason he left Arsenal, as Unai Emery couldn’t promise him a regular starting spot. Pellegrini reportedly has, according to the Daily Mail, and if West Ham are able to get the deal over the line, they will be getting a player who has the potential to change their fortunes quite dramatically.