Is it really worth all the drama to keep Jack Wilshere?

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere admitted he was no closer to signing a new deal with the club but was “hopeful” of coming to an agreement. The English international can earn up to £120k-per-week in bonuses, but in January the Gunners reportedly offered Wilshere a new deal worth £80k-per-week.

His injury problems of the past were said to be the reason for the pay-cut, which instead incentivises appearances. However, Wilshere has no desire to sign the deal and has so far stalled on putting pen to paper. The 26-year-old will be out of contract this summer if the two parties can’t come to an agreement, but is he worth all this drama?

Arsenal were ready to let Wilshere leave for good last summer, with manager Arsene Wenger telling the playmaker that he could find a new club if they offer a better deal as his place in the side wasn’t guaranteed. However, the midfielder stayed at the Emirates and has gone on to make 38 appearances in all competitions this season.

In midfield, the Londoners currently have Mohamed Elneny, Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka to take them into next season if Wilshere leaves this summer, meaning Wenger’s successor will likely shop for a replacement. Arsenal want to keep the Englishman, but neither side will compromise.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 11: Jack Wilshere of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Watford at Emirates Stadium on March 11, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Speaking to Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday, Wilshere said: “We are still in the same position really. Not much has changed. We are still talking.

 “Obviously, the boss has left which has changed things a little bit because I don’t know who is going to be the manager next year and that can change things. But we are still talking and I am hopeful and the club is hopeful we can get something done.”

The 26-year-old rose through the youth ranks to the Arsenal first-team in 2008 and has gone on to make 196 appearances, contributing just 43 goals. This season, he’s made only 19 Premier League appearances (11 starts), scoring once and making two assists. Wilshere has hardly featured in the league since the turn of the year –  three starts since January 20 – so do Arsenal need him?

He’s enjoyed his best return of appearances for many years at Arsenal but has still only played in around half their Premier League outings. Wenger gave Wilshere eight consecutive league starts between mid-December and mid-to-late-January and that’s the best he’s managed.

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere could leave for nothing this summer.

The Englishman is a cultured and talented individual who can unlock defences when in form, but seldom has that been on display this season. He’s played due to a lack of better creative options. Elneny, Ramsey and Xhaka are now Wenger’s preferred trio to start in big games, with Wilshere only starting if one of them are injured.

If the player and club can’t come to an agreement this summer, Wilshere will be released on a free transfer and forced to find himself a new club. He’s had a lot of Serie A interest this season but is likely to stay in England for the sake of his family.

Everton, who signed former Arsenal teammate Theo Walcott in January, and soon-to-be Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers are two clubs keen on his signature, but where does his future lie?

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Crippy can be found on Twitter (@CrippyCooke). He is a sports journalist who has written for the Independent, Bleacher Report, Huffington Post, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph among others. Crippy treats football gossip with a dash of cynicism and loves tearing apart outlandish rumours.

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