Arsenal Transfer News: Jack Wilshere Eyed by Juventus, Lionel Messi Talk Denied

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistAugust 7, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02:  Jack Wilshere of Arsenal in action during the Emirates Cup match between Arsenal and Benfica at the Emirates Stadium on August 2, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Arsene Wenger is ready to bat away Juventus' alleged interest in Jack Wilshere, as reported by James Olley of the London Evening Standard.

Wenger believes the English midfielder faces a "big season" at the Emirates after a string of injuries halted his progress in recent years, per The Sun (h/t The Independent). Wilshere appears to have captured the interest of new Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri, as revealed by Olley's report:

"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," writes Olley.

HARRISON, NJ - JULY 26:  Jack Wilshere #10 of Arsenal fights for the ball with Ibrahim Sekagya #32, Ambroise Oyongo #3 and Tim Cahill #17 of New York Red Bulls during their friendly match at Red Bull Arena on July 26, 2014 in Harrison, NJ. (Photo by Jeff
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Although "no formal enquiry" has been made, Juventus could step up their bid if they lose one of their key midfielders.

Arturo Vidal continues to be linked with a move to Manchester United, per Chilean newspaper El Mercurio, via the Daily Mail's Matt Morlidge. Italian newspaper La Stampa, via the Daily Star's Jack Wilson, even reports Vidal has agreed a five-year deal to join the Red Devils, meaning one of Allegri's first tasks in Turin would be replacing the world-class, box-to-box midfielder.

Wilshere fulfills this role in a less destructive manner for the Gunners, as noted by Wenger:

The ball-playing midfielder offers technical dribbling skills and creativity that goes against the English stereotype. He persists when trying to regain possession and is capable of influencing Arsenal's play by offering a short pass and quick run up the field, as we saw with his fantastic goal against Norwich last season.

He could comfortably sit alongside the physical presence of Paul Pogba at Juventus, and if Vidal doesn't move, they would make a tasty midfield trio for the Old Lady. Understandably, a lot has to change in Juve's favour for this to become reality.

SASSUOLO, ITALY - JANUARY 12:  Head coach AC Milan Massimiliano Allegri reacts during the Serie A match between US Sassuolo Calcio and AC Milan on January 12, 2014 in Sassuolo, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Wilshere made 19 starts and five Premier League substitute appearances for Arsenal last season, per WhoScored.com. He scored three goals, grabbed four assists and helped the North London side maintain their presence in the Champions League with a handful of classy displays.

That said, his inconsistency led former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes into claiming Wilshere "doesn't look any better (of a) player now than he did when he was 17," as reported in the Sky Sports studio, via Paul Collins of the Daily Mail. Although harsh, Scholes is correct when suggesting Wilshere is yet to fulfill the potential he offered as a teenager.

The 22-year-old has always appeared committed to Arsenal, however, making a switch to Juventus unlikely.

Wenger is used to dealing with improbable transfer stories and previously denied Arsenal's interest in Porto's £32 million-rated playmaker Juan Quintero, per James Orr of The Independent.

He may have also chuckled at the suggestion Lionel Messi "eyed" a move to Arsenal before inking a new contract with Barcelona, as reported by Spanish website Vozpopuli, via Simon Yeend of the Express. Blaugrana President Josep Bartomeu laughed off rumours Messi could leave during an interview with CNN's Amanda Davies, saying the player's value is "unlimited."

Arsenal fans will hope Wilshere can take inspiration from potential competition ahead of the new campaign. Such is the nature of transfer season; if Wilshere posts another stuttering season, his long-term future may certainly come into doubt.

Wenger will stand by his players—as highlighted by Aaron Ramsey's skyrocketing success over the past year—but that loyalty could be tested with a major bid for Wilshere somewhere down the line.