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Jack Wilshere’s Arsenal career not over yet

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When it was first reported that Jack Wilshere could possibly leave Arsenal for the 2016/17 season in a loan deal, many were shocked, including a big chunk of Gunner fans. After all, the England international is a very talented player and the north London outfit have had a history of enduring at least one “injury crisis” per season over the last few years. While Wilshere has certainly played a part in previous injury scares with the club, it seemed as if manager Arsene Wenger would go into the current campaign with plenty of cover in midfield, Wilshere included.

Nevertheless, the manager decided to let the 24-year-old midfielder leave for the season to gain as many minutes as possible on the pitch. With Arsenal having fellow midfielders Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, and Granit Xhaka (along with the more defensive Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny) in the squad, minutes were hard to come by for Wilshere during the first three Premier League matches of the season. In fact, the Englishman managed just 37 total minutes in the first month of the campaign.

If Wilshere going out on loan for the 2016/17 wasn’t surprising enough, the fact that he joined Bournemouth, of all teams, prior to the transfer deadline raised a few eyebrows. Despite reported interest from Roma, AC Milan, and Benfica, among other clubs, Wilshere moved to the Cherries for a few reasons. First of all, Bournemouth agreed to pay all of Wilshere’s reported £90,000-a-week wages, as well as a £2 million loan fee for the season. Second of all, the England international wanted to go to a team in which he was practically guaranteed a place in the starting XI week in and week out.

With those two obstacles successfully hurdled, Wilshere’s decision on Bournemouth was also simplified due to the fact that his long-time friend and godfather to his children, Benik Afobe, is currently playing for the Cherries as well. Following his move to the south coast, Wilshere claimed via Twitter that his new destination was the best place for him to develop.

“I would like to thank everyone at the club for making me feel so welcome,” Wilshere stated. “I am looking forward to working hard every day with the coaching staff and my new team-mates to help the club achieve success on the pitch. I had a good chat with the manager and feel sure this is the best place for me to play and develop this season.”

Arsenal fans are hoping that the temporary move to Bournemouth should give Wilshere confidence, as he will automatically be the most talented player in the squad and should play every week. Staying fit will definitely be the most important thing for the injury-prone midfielder. While there have never been doubts over the player’s ability, Wilshere has played more than 30 total matches during a season just three times since making his senior Arsenal debut in 2008.

With the pressure off, this could be a big year for Wilshere. If he can play 30+ matches with Bournemouth and stay healthy, the versatile midfielder should be able to return to the Gunners next summer and fight for a place in Wenger’s starting XI (along with a recall to the England national team). When Wilshere is on top of his game, he has proven to be one of England’s top midfielders, and at just 24, he can certainly be an asset to Arsenal for years to come.

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