Jack Wilshere's Loan to Bournemouth Is a Smart Move for Everyone Involved
Jack Wilshere's injury-plagued career has seen him go from one England's brightest talents to a player whose career is at a standstill. Now, after a loan move late in the transfer window, the central midfielder finds himself at Bournemouth with the objective of playing back into Arsenal's first team.
It isn't a complete banishment -- and it's not like Wilshere is even disliked by the team, per reports -- but recent reports published by ESPN FC say that Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger has told the 24-year-old that a return to the first team in London will require an encouraging display with the Cherries.
And it's reasonable to think he can do so. A staple of the English national team for years (when healthy) as well as a player that has earned his way into Arsenal's starting lineup multiple times, Wilshere's experience and talent level is a considerable step up for Bournemouth. However, his accomplishments are equally matched by long absences.
|Year||Games Played (Substitute Appearances)||Injury||Goals||Assists|
|2011-12||0(0)||Ankle Stress Fracture||0||0|
|2013-14||19(5)||Foot Hairline Fracture||3||4|
|2014-15||9(5)||Ankle Ligament Surgery||2||1|
What Wilshere offers the Cherries, at the very least, is a player that can play almost anywhere in the midfield. Under Wenger, we've seen Wilshere play out as a holding midfielder, a proper attacking No. 10 and out wide. He immediately becomes one of Bournemouth's most talented players -- probably the most talented -- and he's arguably the top option at a few different spots.
Based off of a metro.co.uk quote, it appears Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe will want to use him as the central anchor and a creative engine for the team.
“We saw the potential of the team with him in it," Howe said. "And there will hopefully be some exciting times ahead, and he can provide that link between our midfield and attack, which we desperately need... He has a creative eye, which anyone who has seen Arsenal down the years will know how good he is with his decision making in those areas."
What's most exciting about Wilshere in a position like that is how it can best embrace his abilities. Capable of dribbling through multiple defenders, delivering a pass and also placing dangerous long shots -- as seen below in his legendary brace this summer versus Slovenia -- using Wilshere as an orchestrator and banking on his control of the game is a good place to start.
Wilshere's shooting will be an interesting thing to watch this season. Playing with world-class attackers at Arsenal has led to the Gunners' attacking midfielders taking a back seat in terms of going for goal. This is perfect for Mesut Ozil, whose decent shooting ability does not compare to his typically sublime passing and possession control. Wilshere isn't the pass-master Ozil is, but he is a bit more well-rounded when it comes to the ability to score goals.
At Bournemouth, Benik Afobe, Callum Wilson and others provide an array of options, but the attacking players on roster don't really compare to what Wilshere had in front of him at Arsenal. Below, we can see what the Cherries' key attackers did last season.
Bournemouth needs help in attack, and this could lead to more goal-scoring chances for Wilshere. It wouldn't be too surprising if he ends up netting quite a few goals -- if he's able to stay healthy, of course
At 24, Wilshere has plenty of his career in front of him and a change of scenery, even for a year, could be a good thing. He hasn't had a full season of consistent health since the 2010-11 campaign, and even when he's been healthy, he hasn't been employed in a full-time role very often. That should change now as he'll likely see extensive playing time as a talisman with the Cherries.
Bournemouth gets a player with tremendous upside to help in the fight for survival, and Wilshere gets an opportunity to prove himself over a full season rather than selective appearances. Injury concerns and doubts will probably never go away, but Wilshere can make them much easier to forget with a stellar season.