Many people were surprised to hear that Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere was going on loan at Bournemouth of all places for the 2016/17 campaign. In fact, many Gooners weren’t thrilled with the idea, and wanted Wilshere to remain in north London. Nevertheless, the oft-injured midfielder made the move to the south coast with the intention of gaining fitness and playing as much as possible.

Although Wilshere began his season with Bournemouth a bit slowly, he soon gained confidence and was paramount in getting the Cherries into the top half of the Premier League table during the first half of the current campaign. While they have slipped a bit as of late, Bournemouth appear to be a better team now than they were last season.

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has previously acknowledged this impact Wilshere has had on the club.  “His quality on the ball, his technical ability, is second to none,” he told Sky Sports News in November.  “I think he is so comfortable he’s made us a totally different team with the ball.”

At this point of the season, Wilshere has accomplished his goal of remaining fit, as he has featured in every available Premier League match with Bournemouth during the current campaign. Not only has the midfielder stayed healthy, but he has also been one of the team’s standout players on the season.

No, he is not leading the team in goals or assists, but Wilshere is the catalyst of the club in the middle of the pitch. He has become the perfect transition from defense to offense for the Cherries. Despite flying somewhat under the radar, Wilshere has managed to average more take ons per 90 minutes than Paul Pogba, a higher passing percentage than Cesc Fabregas, and more successful passes per 90 than Ross Barkley.

Now 25-years-old, Wilshere needed a season like this more than ever.  A highly-rated prospect out of the Arsenal academy, the midfielder was once even labeled the “future of English football” by Barcelona legend Xavi.  While multiple injures hindered him from accomplishing this feat at a younger age, it is still certainly possible for Wilshere to be back as the England national team’s top midfielder.

Due to his feisty style of play and injury record, Wilshere does not have many fans outside of the red part of north London or Bournemouth. Regardless, no one can deny what he has done so far during his loan spell. Assuming he can end his season on the south coast injury-free, it appears as if there is room for Wilshere to return to north London and play a part in Arsenal’s midfield for the future.