Wilshere emerged from the club’s academy to graduate to the first team. He has been handed the iconic No. 10 shirt and for a long time has been lauded as the future of the Arsenal midfield.
However, surprise stories in the football media have suggested that Wilshere’s future is not quite as clear-cut as it seems. According to James Olley of the London Evening Standard, Italian champions Juventus have begun to investigate the possibility of taking Wilshere to Turin:
Juventus are interested in signing Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere.
Standard Sport understands the Serie A club have sounded out English-based agents to explore through informal channels whether the Gunners would be willing to sell the 22-year-old.
No formal enquiry or offer has yet been made after the suggestion was rejected by manager Arsene Wenger, who earlier this week challenged the midfielder to become a 'consistent presence' in the team this season.
This report comes as a significant shock. Few fans have given the possibility of Wilshere leaving Arsenal much thought. At first glance, Juventus’ enquiry seems speculative at best.
That said, you can see what’s given them encouragement. Arsenal have been linked with a host of new central midfielders this summer. The club are keen to add a designated holding player to provide a sturdy platform on which the talents of Aaron Ramsey can flourish.
If a central midfielder arrives, one may have to be moved on. Arsenal are limited to a 25-man squad and have an abundance of players who are most comfortable in the middle of the park.
There simply isn’t room for them all.
A year ago, the thought of Wilshere being expendable would have seemed preposterous. However, his long-awaited return from injury has been somewhat underwhelming. Wilshere has yet to hit the heights he threatened to reach as a teenager.
This summer, Wilshere has also attracted a degree of controversy. He was caught smoking and drinking on a summer holiday, earning criticism from the English media before being forced into a public apology. The incident raised question marks over his attitude and commitment.
The onus is on Wilshere to banish those doubts in 2014/15, but he has the ability to do it.
Few players in the Arsenal squad possess his natural gifts. A run of games without injury could be enough to see him fulfill his talent.
Wenger will not want to contemplate letting someone with that amount of sheer potential leave the club. Having witnessed the transformation of Aaron Ramsey from struggling bit-part player to the heartbeat of the team, Arsenal must show a similar degree of patience with Wilshere.
If a midfielder must be sold, Wenger should ship out one of the older heads such as Mikel Arteta or Mathieu Flamini.
If Arsenal allow Wilshere to leave, they could come to regret it. He must be given this season to see if he can start to deliver on his undoubted promise. Should he fail to do so, then we can begin to give these stories of a possible departure more credence.