Sunday, July 21, 2024

Another injury could spell the end for Jack Wilshere’s Arsenal career

It’s all go in Madrid this morning after Real and Atletico made the Champions League semi-finals. The latter at the expense of Leicester City whose players can now concentrate on getting Shakey the sack because he only lets them have 12 chicken nuggets before each game, while the former beat Bayern Munich who found themselves on the wrong end of a dodgy sending off.

What a shame for them, those kind of decisions can be so damaging. What? Oh, etc.

There were also a couple of offside goals in there too as the officials had a night to remember, but it’s pretty hard to feel sympathy for Bayern, even if Ronaldo’s neck pulsating with happiness – like Kuato from Total Recall – is something nobody really needs to see.

That said, I do like Carlo Ancelotti, he seems a decent chap, and if the Germans are minded to get rid of him because they haven’t won the Champions League again, he’d be a very capable Arsene Wenger replacement. If Arsene Wenger is leaving, of course. Big IFs there.

Meanwhile, it looks as if Jack Wilshere’s season is over as it’s being reported he’s suffered a leg fracture – albeit a small one – after his challenge with Harry Kane last weekend. Initial x-rays were inconclusive, but further scans and tests have shown a small crack on his fibula and worryingly it’s the same leg that caused him so much hassle last season.

You’ll remember on the eve of the 2015 Community Shield, Wilshere was injured in a training ground incident with Gabriel. The initial diagnosis was that he’d miss 6-8 weeks, but he was out from August until the end of April as complications arose from the initial problem.

His reluctance to stay and fight for a place at Arsenal this season was surprising to me, as was the decision to let him go to Bournemouth, but it seemed to be working out reasonably well for him. He was staying fit, at least, even if he wasn’t exactly making many waves in terms of his performances, and this will be a massive blow for him now.

The thing with Wilshere is you just never know how long he’s going to be out, and given his injury past the likelihood of it being a more significant problem than it would be with another player is quite high. He’ll return to Arsenal this summer with just 12 months to go on his current deal, and the club have got a big decision to make.

It’s clear that whatever happens with regards the manager, midfield is an issue that needs to be sorted out. It has to function better than it has, and as James and I discussed on the Arsecast Extra yesterday, Leon Goretzka of Schalke is a key-target. If it’s not him, it’s got to be someone else, and unfortunately for Wilshere his unreliability means decisions have to be made around him, rather than with him in mind.

Had he come back from Bournemouth renewed, having shown good form consistently – even in the second half of the season when he’d become properly match fit – you could say there would be grounds to offer him a new deal, but now?

It’s very difficult to see how it’s going to work out that way. Jack Wilshere is 25, not a kid anymore, and that fantastic potential he showed in his early years really hasn’t come to fruition. Clearly the injuries have been a significantly debilitating factor in his career, and you can’t help but wonder if he’ll ever shake them off sufficiently to play at the level we all hoped he’d reach.

When you’re constantly fighting a battle for fitness, match-sharpness and all the rest, it becomes extremely difficult to find anything approaching your best form, and it’s been a long-time since we’ve even seen flashes of the player he was supposed to become, let alone long periods of that.

Is it time for a parting of the ways? Probably, which is a real shame because there was a player in there who could have been fantastic, but at this point I don’t think Arsenal can wait or take the chance that he’s the man to make midfield better. I think he has qualities that this team has missed this season – the ability to burst between the lines would have been very useful – but if he’s absent through injury or not match-fit anyway, we’d also have been without them.

With just 12 months left on his current deal come June, it looks like the right time for him to find a new club. Maybe he’ll go somewhere, stay fit and play really well, and if he does then good luck to him, he deserves a break (no pun intended), but having given him every chance I think it’s time for Arsenal to move on without him too.

Right, a reminder that you can catch up on yesterday’s Arsecast Extra. James and I discuss three at the back against Boro on Monday, and whether or not it’s something Arsene Wenger will stick with for the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday. We also chat about Rob Holding, the players’ reactions after the final whistle, and why breaking James legs could be the thing to save our season.

Listen below, news throughout the day on Arseblog News, and I’ll be back with more tomorrow.


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