Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted he’s uncertain whether Jack Wilshere will sign a new deal with the club but says the ‘noises are positive’.
The English international is out of contract in the summer and rejected Arsenal’s initial extension as it would see him take a significant cut to his salary. However, recent reports suggest a deal is close.
“For the rest, I give him only always one advice: stay at the club. The noises I have is that he will do it, but I don’t know how close he is to signing the contract or not,” said the Arsenal boss.
“But the noises are positive. I hope that will be concluded very quickly and that he can go to the World Cup with England and win the World Cup.”
After recovering from a leg fracture suffered 13 months ago while out on loan with Bournemouth, Wilshere returned to the Arsenal first-team in September and initially featured in the Europa League.
His first Premier League game of the season didn’t come until a month later, having been suspended and an unused substitute until Arsenal’s 5-2 win over Everton on October 22.
And while the 2017/18 campaign has been considered a comeback of sorts for Wilshere, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest it’s not.
He’s played in more games in all competitions for Arsenal this season but so many of them have been from the bench and he’s been largely ineffectual more often than not.
The 26-year-old has made just 20 Premier League appearance from a potential 37, amassing 1187 minutes of playing time from a potential 3330 (36%).
Things spiralled for Wilshere during the turn of the year too, with the playmaker making just seven league starts in 2018, while being left out of the matchday squad six times.
His contract dispute with Arsenal is believed to be down to the basic salary being cut and an appearance incentive being included.
Wilshere wants what he believes he’s worth and matters aren’t helped with Mesut Ozil more than doubling his salary in January despite his inconsistent form.
However, the Gunners may have a point by making a stand with Wilshere. He’s only made 12 Premier League starts this season and has contributed only four goals for his troubles, three of which came before January 2018.
Arsenal aren’t really benefitting from having the academy graduate in the squad. He only plays if one of Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny or Aaron Ramsey are out injured.
Wenger even said to the midfielder last summer that he was free to leave if he got a better deal elsewhere.
It’s clear Wilshere isn’t deemed indispensable anymore but the soundbites coming out of the camp are that his manager is now hoping he stays, while Arsenal have reportedly offered an improved deal.
At best, the playmaker will make 21 league appearances this season, potentially 13 starts, which is a lowly total for somebody trying to prove their fitness to keep his lofty wages intact.
If Wilshere left the Gunners, which club would realistically meet his wage demands with his injury history?
Everton have been linked but there’s no suggestion a top-six club will follow suit this summer. Wilshere may be fortunate Arsenal are so keen to tie him down for the long-term because it could be argued he barely deserves it.