Serge Gnabry & Jack Wilshere: The Situation

After long, hard weeks of wall-to-wall searching for defensive and attacking reinforcements, one would think Arsenal would be packing up their stand in the transfer market with the arrivals of La Liga imports Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Pérez imminent. It would appear that’s not the case.

Serge Gnabry, who’s holding on to his one-year-deal with a purpose, has attracted interest from numerous clubs in the Bundesliga, as he starred for Germany in the 2016 Rio Olympics. With six goals to his name in Brazil, Gnabry sparked a royal rumble hunt for his services which now, according to Sky Germany, sees Werder Bremen set to sign the 21-year-old on a permanent deal ahead of Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich.

Last week, Wenger openly expressed his desire to tie down the young German winger to a new deal with the north Londoners, stating: “he’s been here for a long time and it’s important he stays with us”. In the Frenchman’s words, however, there’s a thinly-veiled warning towards the perceived ingratitude that could ensue, a feeling Gunners fans and the boss himself know all too well. “We stood by him for a long time,” were the words stated by Wenger.

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The message that seems to be lingering from the quote is that Gnabry has already cornered Arsenal with his desires. Lamentably, the Gunners have been left in a weak position, contractually. The winger can talk and agree to sign for any club on a free transfer as of 1st January 2017, meaning that it’s the last call for Arsenal to recoup any form of a transfer fee before the situation is totally out of their control.

In all this, Arsenal may just relinquish their possession of Gnabry. The contractual situation is spiky and, furthermore, the north Londoners have failed to shift some unwanted identities currently in the squad/out on loan with a means to balancing the books.

Where Arsenal go to now may fit into the rumours of an apparent interest in CA Lanús’ 22-year-old wide man Miguel Almirón, in addition to any other deadline day surprises, whereas avid followers of the Arsenal Under-21s will hope Gnabry’s exit could open up a clearer avenue for Jeff Reine-Adelaide or Chris Willock in Wenger’s plans.

Jack Wilshere is another who looks to follow Gnabry out of the Emirates Stadium, albeit on a temporary basis. As per BBC Sport, along with various other British-based sources, the Arsenal midfielder has been loan listed upon personal request.

Why? A lack of first team football centres the situation, but perhaps, thinking speculatively, Wilshere’s decision refers back to his position as an England international. The decision made by former England boss Roy Hodgson to call the 24-year-old up to his Euro 2016 squad wasn’t seen with much grace, as the Arsenal man took to the field just three times in an Arsenal shirt in the 2015/16 season and was opted over media goodies Danny Drinkwater and Mark Noble.

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To some, Wilshere’s selection was understandable, standing as one of the few English midfielders with the nous to manipulate the ball from deep, meanwhile his talent remains very much identifiable. Hodgson, surprisingly, cancelled out his preference completely, perhaps due to the pressure beamed onto the squad, as Arsenal’s number 10 started just once during the Three Lions’ sorry participation in Euro 2016.

The appointment of Sam Allardyce as England boss promises change, the likes of which may not favour an injury-prone Wilshere. Could talk of a loan move emerging just a day after his omission from the latest England squad be just a mere coincidence?

 

Evidently, Wilshere’s situation at Arsenal isn’t entirely favourable. Granit Xhaka promises to be a vital component in Wenger’s side after his £34 million move from Borussia Mönchengladbach, Mohamed Elneny continues to go from strength to strength, not to mention the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin all entering the equation.

It’s clear that Wilshere is after further guarantees, but it’s increasingly difficult to second guess the effects injuries and good/bad form may have on the composition of the ideal starting XI. There’s every chance Wilshere could settle into a key role at Arsenal this season, if his physical state permits.

What also remains obvious, however, is that Wilshere’s minutes with the first-team haven’t been cut due to competition for places. His injuries have been robbing the greatest chunk of time from his career, and unless he receives far more beneficial treatment elsewhere to nurse his woes, a loan move ultimately renders itself as pointless.

EDIT: Jack Wilshere has joined Bournemouth on a season long loan.

 

Patrick Ribeiro

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