Jack Wilshere turns 26 in January and the Arsenal midfielder must feel like the years are flying by too quickly.
It doesn’t seem like two minutes ago that the gifted central midfielder was bursting onto the scene.
He’s midway through his career now but, unfortunately, has so far failed to fulfil his immense potential.
Injuries have undoubtedly hindered his progress. Every time he puts together a decent run of form, it’s never long before he’s sidelined with another injury.
Arsene Wenger says he’ll be back in two weeks and the next thing you know several months have passed and he’s still on the treatment table. The cycle then repeats itself.
Wilshere attempted to get his career back on track by spending last season on loan at Bournemouth but he didn’t set the world alight at the Vitality Stadium.
He’s found himself in and out of Arsenal’s starting line-up since returning to the Emirates Stadium in the summer but impressed in the club’s 1-0 away victory over Red Star Belgrade in the Europa League last month.
Wilshere came on for the final 10 minutes in Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat to Manchester City on Sunday but had no time to make a serious impact.
And unless Wenger hands him more starts, he might be tempted to leave the Gunners when the transfer window re-opens in January, or next summer when his contract expires.
Wilshere could complete shock move in January
Whether any Premier League clubs are interested in securing Wilshere’s services is unclear - although you suspect there must be, given his quality - but there is one team in Spain who are reportedly keen.
According to The Sun, Real Betis, who currently sit eighth in the La Liga table, will attempt to sign the Englishman in the New Year.
Betis head coach Quique Setien hopes the offer of a fresh start in a new country will appeal to Wilshere, who will be free to sign a pre-contract agreement with an overseas club in January if he wishes.
Wilshere’s Arsenal teammate, Joel Campbell, is currently plying his trade at the Benito Villamarín and has scored one goal in three appearances this term.
Betis could provide path to Russia 2018
After being left out of the England squad for the upcoming friendlies against Germany and Brazil, Wilshere might be tempted by the proposition.
"I don't know how you get in an England squad without getting in the Arsenal team," Gareth Southgate told reporters, per the London Evening Standard, over the weekend when asked about Wilshere.
"There is no question about his ability, his football brain or personality, we just need to see him playing before he comes back in because unfortunately there has been a history of injuries.
"I'll be having discussions with Arsene about him, we think he is a top player so for him it's about game time."
A successful six-month spell in Spain and he could - could - force his way into the England reckoning for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.
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