If you had said five years ago that Jack Wilshere will be playing for Bournemouth in a bid to revive his career, not a single person would have believed you.
But then again, Leicester City are the reigning Premier League champions. Clearly, anything can happen.
Wilshere had just turned 19 when he announced himself to the world with a brilliant performance for Arsenal in their 2-1 Champions League win against Barcelona.
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The England international didn’t just hold his own against Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets in midfield, he rose above them. It’s no wonder Xavi continues to have faith in Wilshere, calling him the “future of English football” last November and reiterating his stance earlier this week by saying the 24-year-old can become “one of the best midfield players in Europe”.
So, what went wrong? It’s easy to blame recurring injuries for the reason why Wilshere hasn’t lived up to his potential.
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But the midfielder has recovered from his latest setback, hence why Eddie Howe has brought him to Bournemouth on a season-long loan.
Harry Redknapp's concern
It’s a move that has mystified Harry Redknapp, who, in his Evening Standard column, asks why Arsene Wenger would get rid of the player if he was back to full fitness.
Redknapp also believes the midfielder, once hailed as the next big thing, is now facing a make-or-break nine months.
“Jack Wilshere’s Arsenal career will be over if he doesn’t play well at Bournemouth this season,” Redknapp wrote. “You can dress it up any way you like but it comes down to Arsene Wenger deciding Wilshere isn’t currently good enough to play for his team.
“I’m looking at Wenger and thinking, ‘Hang on, Arsene, you don’t loan players like Jack out.’
"Fitness can’t be the issue. If he is fit enough to play in the Premier League for Bournemouth, then he has to be ready physically to play for Arsenal.
Behind the scenes
“You don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. A manager doesn’t let a player go on loan if he thinks they are going to be useful to him, especially at a big club like Arsenal because even if Jack isn’t starting every week, you’ll need him at some stage during a season in which you compete in four competitions.
“Sometimes you don’t want certain players around if they are not going to be in the team because you think, ‘he won’t be in the best of places mentally' and 'do I need the aggravation that comes with that?’
“I don’t know if Jack is like that as a lad but Arsene has to be getting him out for a reason. Arsene isn’t in the game to do people favours.”
As talented a player as Wilshere is, Redknapp reckons it will take him a while to adjust to playing without the ball.
“It will be a challenge for Wilshere at Bournemouth, though, because he is used to playing in a team that dominate the ball,” the former Tottenham boss added. “Arsenal have the majority of possession in every game they play.
“Bournemouth are a passing team and I can see why Wenger thinks Eddie Howe’s style of play will suit Wilshere but they aren’t going to dominate matches in the way that Arsenal so often do.”