Tuesday 20 August 2019

Gunners to make decision next month on Wilshere deal

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Photo: Getty Images
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Photo: Getty Images

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Arsene Wenger will decide next month whether Jack Wilshere has earned a new Arsenal contract, giving the club the chance to sell him in January if he has not.

Wilshere will make his fifth start of the season tonight, against Red Star Belgrade in the Europa League, part of his campaign to prove to Wenger that he still has a future at the Emirates. He has still not forced his way into the Premier League side, meaning these low-level games against ordinary opposition are the only way he can prove whether this will be his last season as an Arsenal player or not.

So far this season Wilshere has started away at BATE Borisov and in Belgrade, as well as twice in the Carabao Cup, as he tries to rebuild an Arsenal career that looked finished last year. His contract expires next June, so the clock is ticking on a decision about his future.

"I said many times that (Wilshere's future) would be decided in December," Wenger said. "I wanted to give him six months not to think about that and see where we go." Now Wilshere only has two months left. After this game there are two more Europa League group stage games as well as the Carabao Cup quarter-final against West Ham United.

Wilshere will continue in his more advanced role tonight, effectively as an inside-forward in Arsenal's 3-4-2-1 system, alongside Theo Walcott, behind Olivier Giroud. It is where Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez play for Arsenal and if Wilshere continues to improve, he could conceivably replace one of them next year if they leave.

"In my head he's more a higher up player [than a midfielder]," Wenger explained. "I see him more as a player who can affect the game in the final third than a box-to-box player." (© Independent News Service)

  • Arsenal v Red Star Belgrade, Live, eir Sport 2/BT Sport 2, 8.05

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