Arsene Wenger would be delighted to see Jack Wilshere flourish on loan at Bournemouth and has even backed the “world-class” midfielder to one day manage Arsenal.
Wilshere, 24, was allowed to leave the Emirates Stadium on transfer deadline day as both he and Wenger felt it would be better for him to be playing regular football after an injury-hit career.
The England international has not completed a full 90 minutes for the Gunners in nearly two years and was not named in Sam Allardyce’s first England squad last month.
That led to frank discussions between player and manager which resulted in a shock loan move to Bournemouth – but Wenger insists Wilshere will be back at Arsenal next season and would not regret allowing him to leave temporarily even if he stars at the Vitality Stadium. He is our player to watch this weekend.
“If he plays, he will play really well because he cannot play badly,” Wenger said.
“But the first person to be happy about that, would be me. I do not try to be right, but if I give him out and he plays, I will be more right.
“What you want more than anything is for a player with his talent to play. In a selfish way, you want him to play for your club but there is a bigger perspective, you want him to play and express his talent.”
Asked if Wilshere’s Arsenal career was in the balance, Wenger replied: “No, not at all, no. He wanted games and I can understand his desire.
“I felt it was a logical decision. Let’s not forget that last year he didn’t play. He’s in a position where you need games. You can’t not compete for two seasons and then want to be at the top level.
“It’s important for him that he gets the number of games this season.
“I think Jack Wilshere is a world-class player. He has a great footballing brain, and understands everything that is going on on the football pitch. He is most dangerous when you give him the ball in the final third.
“We had a chat together and he himself was concerned that he would not get enough competition early enough, because he feels ready to play.
“I couldn’t guarantee that, so that’s why (we took) the decision.”
Despite sanctioning the loan deal and with Wilshere behind the likes of Granit Xhaka, Santi Cazorla, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil in the pecking order, Wenger still intends to offer him a new deal at the club and hopes he remains at Arsenal to one day manage the Gunners.
“I hope personally that he stays here his whole career,” said Wenger.
“Certainly one day he will be in my (manager’s) seat. He has a real football brain and understands football. You know really, it’s in his genes. I see him in the future at this club of course. He will spend his life in football, he is a football man.
“He has an eye on everybody, it’s in him. You have that or you haven’t got it, but he is a real football man.”
Asked about giving Wilshere a new contract, with his current deal having two years left to run, Wenger replied: “I want him to extend, yes.
“I think (talks will start) around December. When I make a decision it is in the best interests of the player and of his interest as well.
“I try always to combine the interests of the club and the interests of the player. In this case that’s what I try to do. After, sometimes it doesn’t always come out as you want him to. But he is a real Arsenal man as well.”
Having been a surprise inclusion in Roy Hodgson’s ranks for Euro 2016, new England boss Allardyce cited Wilshere’s lack of first-team football as a reason for his absence in his first squad.
And Wenger believes that snub will have also played a part in Wilshere wanting to move away and play more regularly, having only made two substitute appearances for Arsenal this season before completing his loan move.
“Yes. I’m convinced by that,” the Frenchman replied when asked if Wilshere was hurt by losing his place.
“I believe as well, because Allardyce said he doesn’t play at the moment, I’m convinced that played a part (in Wilshere leaving).”