Liverpool are considering a surprise £25 million bid for Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere this summer after it emerged that Arsene Wenger is considering cashing in on the injury-prone star at the end of the season.
According to the Daily Star on Sunday, Reds boss Brendan Rodgers is on the lookout for a long-term replacement for soon to be departing skipper Steven Gerrard, and would love to bring the Gunners youngster to Anfield.
The 23-year-old's recent off-field antics are understood to have angered the Arsenal manager once again, and could result in a shock departure from the Emirates Stadium.
Wilshere was pictured holding a shisha pipe on a night out in London earlier this week, and while Wenger publicly supported the England international he could still be shown the exit door after repeatedly taking his position for granted.
It's the third time that the Gunners academy graduate has been caught smoking after being photographed on holiday in the United States with a cigarette in his mouth during a pool party in Las Vegas last summer.
Article continues below
Earlier this season Wojciech Szczesny was reprimanded for a smoking incident in the changing room showers at St Mary's following Arsenal's 2-0 defeat against Southampton on New Year's Day.
The Polish goalkeeper turned in a calamitous display and was at fault for both goals on the south coast, but his crazy post-match actions could not be justified. He was swiftly dropped from the team and replaced by David Ospina, who has continued to deputise ever since.
Wilshere has also been out of the Arsenal side since injuring his ankle against Manchester United back in November, but as he closes in on a return to fitness he could struggle to reclaim a place in the starting XI.
The Gunners have won only six of the 16 games that the midfielder has featured in this term, and after enjoying a significant upturn in form during his absence, there's a case to argue that Wilshere is no longer regarded as an important first-team star.
Liverpool could capitalise on Wilshere's diminishing status in north London by offering him an opportunity to revive his career on Merseyside, but they must be willing to spend big money with the player likely to command wages in excess of his current £80,000-a-week contract at Arsenal.