Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has made a decision to leave the club this summer, reports the Daily Star. The English international has been offered a contract extension that would require him to take a paycut, but he’s been unwilling to sign it and could be on his way out of the Emirates Stadium instead.
It’s a major blow for Arsenal and manager Arsene Wenger after so many years spent developing the midfielder to the level he’s at now. Wilshere looked finished at the club after being loaned out to Bournemouth in pursuit of more playing time last season but returned this campaign to make 37 appearances in all competitions.
The 26-year-old made his Arsenal debut in 2008 and has gone on to make 195 appearances in the last decade. He’s struggled with injury problems but has enjoyed his best return for playing time since 2014. However, the contract offer put to him has cut his salary due to fears over future injuries.
Arsenal have offered Wilshere an appearance-bonus to act as the incentive to stay fit, but the playmaker has been reticent to agree to the terms. Wilshere can earn up to £120k-per-week but his new deal would see him on a basic wage of £80k-per-week.
With Mesut Ozil landing a 200% payrise in January, Wilshire isn’t happy taking a paycut after his 17 years of service. His form this season led to an England recall, although a minor injury forced him to return to Arsenal. While making 37 appearances this season, Wenger has afforded Wilshere only 11 Premier League starts, so he’s not been indispensable.
Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey and Mohamed Elneny are higher up in the pecking order than the Englishman which may force him to seek greener pastures elsewhere. The Daily Star say Everton are keen on his signature, although it’s unknown if he would consider the step down.
Wilshere will be out of contract in two months and will be one of many long-serving Gooners to have left in the past year – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (to Liverpool in August), Theo Walcott (to Everton in January), Olivier Giroud (to Chelsea in January), Francis Coquelin (to Valencia in January), Wojciech Szczesny (to Juventus in July) and Kieran Gibbs (to West Bromwich Albion in August).
Arsenal have been linked with a number of midfielders as replacement for Wilshere, but Wenger and his scouting team should use this opportunity to find the perfect player in the middle of the park, rather than a like-for-like who can’t provide as much defensive protection.
Sevilla’s Steven N’Zonzi was one player believed to be on their shortlist, although rumours have died down in recent months. Watford’s Abdoulaye Doucoure is another combative midfielder whom Arsenal have been linked with.
Fans may be shocked to see Arsenal are letting Wilshere go, and that the player is resigned to his fate, but he revealed to the Guardian in March that Wenger sanctioned his sale the previous summer.
“(Wenger) just said: ‘At the moment we are not going to be offering you a contract so, if you can get one somewhere else, you can go.’”
Hardly paints the picture that the Gunners are too enamoured with the 26-year-old academy graduate, so a departure this summer isn’t much of a surprise.