With the Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil contract situations done and dusted, Arsenal brass can now turn their attentions to Jack Wilshere’s expiring deal. The midfielder’s current contract runs out at the end of the season and he will be free to sign with any other club should he not commit his future to the Gunners.
The last few years of Wilshere’s career has been filled with ups and downs. He went from being the England national team’s top performer for over a year, to being sidelined multiple times, to back to Arsenal’s starting lineup. No one can doubt Wilshere’s ability as a player, as he appears to almost always perform well when fit; however, his injury record is alarmingly erratic. This injury record is undoubtedly the main reason why negotiations between the north London club and Wilshere have dragged on for so long.
The now 26-year-old England international joined the Arsenal youth setup at the age of nine. It is safe to say that Wilshere is Arsenal through and through. This, however, does not necessarily mean that he will remain with the club throughout the entirety of his career. In fact, Wilshere spoke on the subject of signing elsewhere during his loan stint with Bournemouth last year.
“It was a tough decision for me to go out on loan,” Wilshere told the Daily Mail in November of 2016. “I could have stayed at Arsenal, been the player that comes on now and again, starts the odd game here and there. So when it comes to next year, I’ll have to make a decision. I love Arsenal and I can still see myself playing there but, as well, who knows what the future holds. If there comes a time when I have to leave, then I have to leave. If I go back and I’m still not playing then I will have to think about things.”
Fast forward to November of the current campaign and Wilshere essentially reiterated these sentiments. “I’ve been here 10 years, I love this club and feel like I have a special relationship with the fans,” Wilshere proclaimed to Standard Sport a few months ago. “Of course I want to stay. At the moment I’m concentrating on getting into the Premier League team. I’ve been playing quite a lot of football and I’m happy with where I am fitness wise but I want to be playing for Arsenal in the league.”
Following this interview, Wilshere has been given plenty of playing time in Arsenal’s Premier League matches. In fact, the versatile midfielder has started 10 of the club’s last 14 matches during league play. So with the Englishman getting these precious Premier League starts, an agreement between club and player should be imminent, right? Not necessarily.
It is widely reported that Arsenal’s current offer to Wilshere is a base salary worth around £90,000 per week, plus incentives that could take his income beyond the £110,000 mark. While the extra incentives part of a potential deal is a unique situation, the Gunners are not exactly out of line for trying to include this in the contract considering the player’s past with injuries.
Although a deal was thought to be extremely close at the beginning of the calendar year, the stall in negotiations could in fact have to do with new bumper deals with fellow midfielders Henrikh Mkhitaryan and the aforementioned Özil. Both playmakers currently earn a significant amount of money more than the reported Wilshere offer.
Whether Wilshere agrees to a new contract or not remains to be seen; however, it has to go down as a good sign that both the club and the player do want an agreement to happen. While the two sides have stalled a bit in negotiations, there is still time to get a deal done. Arsenal certainly remain favorites to re-sign Wilshere, but Everton, West Ham, and Juventus are all reportedly monitoring the player’s situation as well.
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