The main news this morning is that young Jack of the Shire has signed a new long-term deal with the club. He signed professional terms with us in January 2009 and a new deal was always going to be sorted out sooner rather than later.
It was sooner because of the impact he’s made this season, playing in every game until his recent suspension, and he’s really added something to the first team squad. Arsene Wenger said:
Jack is a fantastic footballer with a huge amount of potential, and we have all seen with his performances so far that he is a very gifted player, who could be an extremely influential player at the top level of the game
While Jack himself said:
Arsenal Football Club has been like a second home for me and my family since I was nine years old. To be offered a new contract means everything to me. This is the perfect club.
He then went on to thank everyone he had ever met and celebrated in raucous style last night with a cup of tea. Well, according to his Twitter that’s what he did. Which is no bad thing considering we’ve got a trip to Donetsk today and a Champions League game to play tomorrow.
We’ve seen Arsenal hand out a lot of new contracts in the last 12-18 months. We do it in some cases to ensure we get the most for a player when we sell him, Eduardo’s new deal in late 2009 might well have been one of those, and in other cases Ivan Gazidis has said that they’re taking a punt on the potential of a player, hoping he’ll come good and as such the club will hold a valuable asset as well as a good player. You could point to Carlos Vela’s new deal in late 2009 an example of that. He was not given a new deal on what he’d done on the pitch, his overall performance last season was fairly abject, but what the manager and his staff think he might do in the future. Can’t win ’em all, I suppose.
Wilshere’s is slightly different though. Not only is his potential obvious but he’s being rewarded for his performances and his contribution. It’s easy for an 18 year old to struggle with first team football when he first emerges. The talent may well be there but what’s missing is the consistency. We could look at Aaron Ramsey as a young man who struggled in that regard. In his first season at the club he was in and out, had some good games, but also some indifferent ones. It was only last season that he began to produce on a regular basis and then, of course, he was felled by Stoke’s Super Mutant.
What Wilshere has done is come in to a top four team in the fastest, most physical football league there is, and maintain a level of performance that belies his 18 years. It’s no wonder he’s been offered a new deal and no wonder Arsene Wenger talks about his potential. We’ve got a rare gem on our hands here, let’s hope he can learn from the likes of the Cesc, from the players who have been through this club in the past, like Bergkamp, like Henry, Vieira, Pires, the players who dedicated their careers to being the best.
Perhaps there wouldn’t be as much worry if he weren’t English but there’s a culture in English football that still goes against everything that makes top level footballers the best. Look at the Man City players taking a day off to go drinking with students in Scotland. If he can avoid that side of things, if he can avoid the idiots who populate the England squad, the Ferdinands and Terrys who think bragging about how much they’ve drunk or how many pint glasses they’ve pissed in is part and parcel of the game, then he’ll be a better player and a better person for it.
Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself here a bit but you don’t stop worrying about your kids just because they turn 18. You might even worry more because they’re allowed do adult things even though they’re not adults until they’re at least 51, but it does seem that Jack has good people around him and I’m looking forward to seeing him do great things in an Arsenal shirt for years to come.
Another man whose contract is up for renewal is Wojscez©® but at the moment he seems disinclined to do so. He wants to play, at the moment he’s got no real assurance that he will do that on a regular basis for Arsenal, so he’s not signing anything. Which I completely understand. What will be interesting is when Almunia is fit again. What does Arsene Wenger do? I don’t see the manager dropping Fabianski so Almunia’s going to sit on the bench, at best.
That would mean demoting Wojscez©® to the number 3 position. Does he make an executive decision regarding Almunia and decide that the younger of the Poles represents the future of goalkeeping at the club and keep him as number 2? That might well be the vote of confidence he needs to put pen to paper on a new deal, certainly far more than being asked to bide his time as a number 3 would. Especially when he’s made fairly clear his opinion of the Spaniard. It’s a tricky one for the boss but that’s why he’s paid the big bucks.
Some interesting quotes from Abou Diaby about the fans and winning trophies. I can see where he’s coming from but I’m not sure he really gets it. If he doesn’t feel the pressure perhaps he’s too insulated, too protected from it. It’s definitely there. If he’s suggesting it should manifest itself more in the stadium etc then he might find that counter-productive.
Meanwhile, Nicklas Bendtner’s time out injured has done nothing to quash his self-confidence, he says:
In the big clubs like Chelsea and Manchester United there is also high rotation among many players, but I want to start in most of the clashes.
With competition from Chamakh and van Persie (hahahaha) he’s going to have to play well to do that but I’m sure he’s well aware of that. We’re right back to that whole competition for places thing bringing the best (hopefully) out of our players.
There’s a press conference this morning ahead of the trip to the Ukraine so we’ll get all the team news before lunch. So that, and a preview of the Shaktar game, in tomorrow’s blog.