Tuesday 12 December 2017

Guardiola drops hint about move for Wilshere

Jack Wilshere of AFC Bournemouth. Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Jack Wilshere of AFC Bournemouth. Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Luke Edwards

Pep Guardiola's eyes twinkled as he talked, not with mischief, but in admiration. He has something to get off his chest and it might not be good news for Arsenal. Jack Wilshere has a big fan and Manchester City might have an intriguing transfer target.

There has been plenty of talk about Wilshere heading to City before, but it has never got beyond the speculation stage and it has always been denied. City have previously claimed they are not interested.

Arsenal have steadfastly resisted any notion that one of their home-grown players, a boyhood fan, would abandon them.

However, that was before Guardiola took charge at the Etihad and before Wilshere was sent out on loan to Bournemouth because he was no longer guaranteed regular first-team football under Arsene Wenger.

City play Bournemouth tonight and it seemed natural to ask Guardiola about a player who played so well against his Barcelona side in a Champions League last 16 encounter six years ago.

Stunned

Wilshere's career has been blighted by injuries since, but Guardiola remembers the teenager who stunned him.

"I remember in Barcelona and that year we played Arsenal," Guardiola said, leaning forward with his hands clasped together.

"He left a massive impression. A high, high level.

" I know the problem with Jack Wilshere was just the injuries. If he's lucky to play regularly for one season, he is going to be back to being one of the best midfield players in England by far.

"He has a special quality with the ball, dribbling as a holding midfielder to attack central defenders - it's not easy to do that."

Wilshere's future at Arsenal is open to question. Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has already declared he would love to turn his loan move into a permanent switch, but if City enter the running than there is only going to be one winner in that transfer war.

Meanwhile at City, Sergio Aguero's place is in doubt. He is no longer assured of first-choice status following the arrival of Gabriel Jesus last month, but he also has admirers.

"Sergio knows the intention of his manager and the club," said Guardiola.

"I don't want to sell him, I want him to stay here for a long time."

Aguero to Arsenal and Wilshere to City in the summer? Stranger things have happened. © Daily Telegraph, London.

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