From Manchester to Milan: Assessing Potential Landing Spots for Jack Wilshere

Dean Jones@DeanJonesBRFootball Insider at Bleacher ReportMarch 26, 2018

From Manchester to Milan: Assessing Potential Landing Spots for Jack Wilshere

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    It was as recently as November 2015 when Barcelona legend Xavi labelled Jack Wilshere as the "future of English football." 

    Now here we stand, with the Arsenal midfielder recently admitting manager Arsene Wenger told him earlier this season he could start looking for a new club, per Neil Ashton of The Sun.

    It has been a sad spiral for Wilshere, whose career has been ravaged by injury. He even struggled when sent out for a season on loan at Bournemouth.

    Since Wenger's matter-of-fact statement last year, though, Wilshere has worked tirelessly to prove he could have a future at the Emirates Stadium. He's been impressive too.

    Once more a regular in Wenger's starting lineup, he has even been offered a new deal—but it is worth £20,000 per week less than his current earnings, according to John Cross of the Mirror.

    He has known about the offer for a while, and according to B/R sources, it has left Wilshere feeling undervalued and disrespected. So while he wants to stay at Arsenal, it is time to consider the main contenders to sign him if his contract is allowed to expire this summer.

Manchester City

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    Becoming a free agent suddenly opens up moves that never seemed possible before, and that is something that will happen for Wilshere.

    Almost every top-flight club is watching his situation with interest, and if he does quit Arsenal, then do not be surprised to see him land at Manchester City.

    Wilshere has long been admired by certain members of the Etihad Stadium club's hierarchy, and it is understood they looked into signing him in 2015—back when Xavi was lauding him as a game-changer.

    It's a path many players have taken, with Samir Nasri, Bacary Sagna, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure and Gael Clichy all heading north from Arsenal in the past decade. But City decided to hold back because of his injury record.

    After Pep Guardiola arrived in 2016, fresh speculation began that Wilshere may end up wearing sky blue after all.

    The City boss heaped praise on Wilshere in February 2017, saying he was "a little bit like [Mousa] Dembele at Tottenham" and describing how he had left a "massive impression" after an impressive performance against Guardiola's Barca side.

    City are understood to be actively interested in signing Wilshere if he leaves Arsenal, as backroom staff believe he would fit ideally into their football philosophy.

Manchester United

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    Manchester United recently nabbed Alexis Sanchez from City's fingertips, and it is possible they could challenge them for Wilshere's signature too.

    There have not been any concrete claims of United's interest, but B/R sources close to Old Trafford are convinced manager Jose Mourinho will make the player an offer if he does not renew his contract at Arsenal.

    It would make sense given United are in the market for two central midfielders in the summer transfer window and could sign the England international for no fee.

    Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera's futures are both uncertain, while Michael Carrick is retiring to take up a post on the club's coaching staff.

    It's possible Wilshere could make the switch.

Liverpool or Everton

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    This summer, Liverpool will start to reinvest their Philippe Coutinho cash, but to save money on a midfielder would be handy.

    The Reds signed Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain last summer, and the Mirror recently suggested they want Wilshere from Arsenal too (h/t Kristian Walsh of the Liverpool Echo).

    It is an intriguing option, and it's one Wilshere would be open to given Jurgen Klopp's style of management.

    But Everton have more firm interest in Wilshere and are serious about pursuing him.

    Last summer's big spend is widely considered as a failure, but they will not be deterred from making "two or three" significant signings again this summer, according to a reliable source at the club.

    One of the players on their radar is Wilshere, with manager Sam Allardyce admitting he is a fan.

    He recently told TalkSport: "I've always admired him. ... I've seen a big difference in Jack Wilshere recently, in his frame, in his body. He looks like he has really got the bit between his teeth."

    Expect them to be the first club to make a serious offer, but expect Wilshere to wait to see who else follows up.

AC Milan or Juventus

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    Wilshere is not keen on the option of moving to Italy. He feels the Premier League is the best place for him and is confident of finding a new club if he is forced to walk away from Arsenal.

    But AC Milan and Juventus have been linked to Wilshere, and their options would be waiting in the background.

    A move to Milan seems extremely unlikely given they turned him down at the start of the season, and even if that stance changes, he recently faced them in the UEFA Europa League and saw they are below the level he is playing at with the Gunners.

    Juventus would be more tempting given their pedigree, and there has been an inquiry from the Italian champions, according to Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail. However, Wilshere would face a huge challenge to get in the team.

    From speaking to informed figures around the situation, it appears Wilshere is going to wait in the hope Arsenal decide to increase their incentivised £90,000-per-week offer—and if not, he is most likely to join one of the Manchester clubs.