Where Next For Jack Wilshere? 5 Potential Destinations For The Departing Arsenal Midfielder
Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has announced via Instagram that he won't be renewing his contract with the club when it expires at the end of June, ending his 10-year association with the Premier League side.
Wilshere's career has been plagued by injuries as he made just 12 appearances in the top-flight last term and - despite impressing during his fleeting appearances - it was the lack of first-team action that ultimately cost him a place in Gareth Southgate's squad for the current World Cup in Russia. The future of the 26-year-old has been a topic of debate since Arsene Wenger - who Wilshere likened to a "father figure" in the past - was replaced by Unai Emery as Arsenal manager.
Wilshere put his decision to leave down to "footballing reasons" after meeting with Emery. It seems as if Emery decided that Wilshere couldn't be guaranteed regular first team football and it has been all-change at The Emirates of late. The club have been extremely active during the current summer transfer window, with the Gunners announcing the signing of Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno on Tuesday morning. The arrival of a new goalkeeper will throw the future of Petr Cech in to doubt, although it is Wilshere's next destination which is of more immediate concern.
What are the options for Wilshere?
Bournemouth - The midfielder spent the 2016/17 season on-loan with Bournemouth, making 27 league appearances, but he struggled to nail down a regular starting place in the Cherries' starting line-up. The rise of Lewis Cook in the heart of the midfield ensures that Eddie Howe is unlikely to make another move for Wilshere.
Everton or Leicester - It is difficult to imagine any of the top-six Premier League teams making a move for Wilshere, so he may have to settle for the 'next best thing' in the top-flight. Leicester City have thrived in recent years but there is a lack of clarity over the direction they are taking, thanks to their constant managerial changes and the uncertain future of want-away talisman Riyad Mahrez. Everton may be the better option as the highly-rated manager Marco Silva prepares for his first season on Merseyside and his propensity for playing attractive football could suit a player like Wilshere.
Crystal Palace - A move to Crystal Palace could be an appealing proposition for all parties as it would mean that Wilshere could stay in the London area, while Roy Hodgson is a known admirer of the player himself. Wilshere was a regular when Hodgson was England manager and he could flourish in a Palace side that enjoyed a remarkable turnaround in fortunes last term, with Hodgson guiding the Eagles away from what appeared to be certain relegation. Wilshere will have been encouraged by the way that Ruben Loftus-Cheek thrived at Selhurst Park and forced his way into the England reckoning.
A Move Abroad - Could a transfer abroad help revitalise the career of a player who has been beset with a host of injury problems over the years? AC Milan have been linked with Wilshere in the past but a move to the San Siro may have passed him by. Wilshere could be put off by his former England colleague Joe Hart's troubles since a loan spell with Torino in Serie A, although there is a growing trend for younger English players to try their luck in foreign climes. The 26-year-old is no spring chicken as he faces up to a crucial juncture in his career - he simply has to get his next move right.