THE ONGOING debate over Jack Wilshere’s contract with Arsenal, which is likely to continue for some weeks, took another turn recently with the offer of reduced terms from the club, some months after manager Arsene Wenger told the player he could leave the Emirates if he found a a new club.

Wilshere’s new deal, is still an eye-watering £ 90,000 per week, but when you consider Mesut Özil is getting £ 350,000 per week from the Gunners, Wilshere is clearly getting a signal from his employers. As injury prone as he is, you cannot help feeling that Arsenal are not doing the 26 year-old any favours in their summary of a player who was once seen as the future of England. “Wilshere will always have injury niggles – it’s how he is structured,” Steve Bould told The Guardian.

It may also be how he plays, once described by Brian Glanville as a “scrappy-do” style, suggesting that he was a broken leg waiting to happen.

The Sun said Arsenal were “holding their nerve” over Wilshere, but added that clubs are not exactly queueing-up to sign him. Much may depend of whether he makes Gareth Southgate’s England squad for Russia, although he was once more hit by an injury in the build-up to the March friendlies.

The BBC underlined the fans still love Wilshere and his team-mates also have great respect for him. Wilshere himself wants to stay at the club, but Arsenal effectively made him a take-it-or-leave-it offer. So far, he has chosen to leave it.

It’s a strange situation. Wilshere’s form has been pretty good, and Arsenal are already eyeing replacements for the Stevenage-born player, yet their opening gambit with Wilshere looks like they are trying to retain him on the cheap. Yet his injury record is poor and it is understandable that Arsenal don’t want to lock-in at a price that looks foolish if his fitness continues to be in doubt. Hence, they have loaded the deal with incentives if he stays fit and performs. Comments from the Arsenal staff look like a deterrent to other clubs, but now we read that Wenger has told Wilshere he could be in line for the club captaincy!

ESPN said Everton might lead the way with a bid for Wilshere, who would not command a fee as his contract is up at the end of the season. There is also talk of AC Milan taking him on, with their coach, Gennaro Gattuso claiming Wilshere “has the technique of a Spanish player and the character of an English player.” The Evening Standard reported that Wenger is pushing Wilshere to sign the deal that was recently tabled, saying “nothing has changed” from the club’s perspective. Wenger added that if he stays fit, the next three years would see “the real Jack Wilshere”. At the moment, it could be that the real Wilshere might be wearing a different shirt next season.

Photo: Ronnie Macdonald via Flickr CC BY 2.0