Jack Wilshere’s career at Arsenal has been a roller coaster. Once regarded as a young star for his club, multiple injuries have seen him on the physio table more than the pitch.
At various times in that period it has looked as though some Arsenal fans had finally given up on Wilshere. He hasn’t played consistently since 2013-14 and at the age of 24, his prime looks to be fading away.
Arsene Wenger has decided that what is best for both the club and Wilshere is to give him another chance at a lower end Premier League team, so he can play regular minutes and work his way back to becoming a top player.
Wilshere rejected offers from AC Milan, AS Roma and Crystal Palace, so he can fight to regain his form with Bournemouth.
The move looks to be a bit of a shock, because he could’ve played for top teams outside of England and maybe a mid-level club in the EPL. But he has decided to take 19th place Bournemouth out of the relegation zone and show that he can be a top player again.
Here are three reasons why Wilshere can rejuvenate his career at Bournemouth.
LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 14: Granit Xhaka and Jack Wilshere of Arsenal chat before the Premier League match between Arsenal and Liverpool at Emirates Stadium on August 14, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
3. Regular minutes
It was hard for Jack Wilshere to get consistent minutes for Arsenal after the injuries he has had for the past couple seasons. His ankles haven’t been bothering him, and his recent fibula fracture didn’t help him at all.
No to mention that with Wilshere out, Arsene Wenger needed to fill his void in the middle and signed Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka. And with the recent play of Aaron Ramsey — who has developed into one of Arsenal’s best players the past couple seasons — Wilshere is the odd man out.
Wilshere hasn’t played more than 25 games since 2012-13, but that is mostly because of injures. He looks to be fit and ready to challenge for starting minutes, but if he stayed at Arsenal, he would just be another bench player, waiting to take the place of Ozil or Xhaka or Ramsey or Santi Cazorla or … you get the idea.
Now with Bournemouth, he can fight for a starting spot, and has a good chance of keeping it. The Cherries have used a 4-3-3 and a 4-4-1-1 formation to start this season, and they could definitely use some help in central midfield. Andrew Surman and Ryan Fraser have been pinned to start alongside Harry Arter, but they haven’t looked that convincing.
Wilshere should be able to challenge one of those players for minutes, as he has played in some big matches in his young career and is a creative player when healthy.
ISLINGTON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 10: Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere at the Premier League Season Launch on August 10, 2016 in Islington, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
2. Out of the Arsenal spotlight
Once you put on that red Arsenal kit, you are subject to criticism for not performing well. There is so much pressure to succeeded at a club that hasn’t won much since that 2003-04 ‘invincibles’ season and many fans want this team to bring in the very best.
Wilshere’s injury history has hurt his image in the eyes of Arsenal supporters. Once a highly regarded talent, Wilshere has become a player many in England feel is just another hugely talented young player who failed to live up to the hype. He shows flashes of the talent that once promised to make him an England star, but the injuries, coupled with a few negative headlines off the pitch, have seen many Arsenal and England fans turn against Wilshere.
Now comes Bournemouth, who are in a relegation battle early on and will need all the help they can get to stay in the Premier League for another season. Even if Wilshere is at the club for just a year, that could help them be a Premier League team come next fall.
At Bournemouth, Wilshere is the biggest name on the team sheet. Even so, if he fails, the criticism he receives will not be quite as sever, considering the difference in the size of the fan bases at Arsenal and Bournemouth.
If he fails to make an impact, people will judging, but the judgment won’t be too harsh considering the team around him. The opportunity to focus on his soccer out of the spotlight and away from a big-name club like Arsenal could be exactly what Wilshere needs.
LEICESTER, ENGLAND – AUGUST 20: Jack Wilshere of Arsenal breaks past Mark Albrighton of Leicester during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Arsenal at The King Power Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
1. Style matches Bournemouth needs
The Cherries haven’t fared so well in the Premier League. They lost 3-1 to Manchester United and then 1-0 to West Ham. They did nab a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace last weekend, but they sit in 19th place in the table.
They have a number of dangerous forwards and wingers — most notably, Callum Wilson, Josh King and Jordon Ibe — but have struggled to create chances, especially through the middle of the pitch.
Enter Wilshere. If healthy, he has the skill to control the tempo in midfield, make defense splitting passes and link with his teammates in the final third. Ibe, Wilson and King haven missed that sort of attacking playmaker so far this season, and Wilshere looks like a perfect fit in the role.
Everything depends on his health, but looking back at the 2013-14 season, in which he made 19 starts and five more appearances off the bench, he had three goals, four assists, an 86.1 percent pass completion and 1.4 key passes per match.
That is pretty good for a player that at the time was 21 years old.
Bournemouth will take what they can from Wilshere. If he can contribute five to 10 assists, play at least 20 matches and be one of the teams key playmakers, that is a successful campaign for the England international.
This has been a chastening transfer window for Arsenal’s former golden boy, but he remains, even at 24, one of the most talented English players of his generation. If he can stay healthy, and is given consistent starting minutes, Bournemouth could be the perfect place for him to start rebuilding his career.