Fresh off the disappointment of missing out on the World Cup — Gareth, if you want to tell me that Loftus-Cheek deserves a place over Jack then you’re more deluded than you make yourself out to be — Jack Wilshere can now focus on his most pressing matter: Signing da ting.
There were doubts over Wilshere’s physical condition to be able to play football at the highest level, but having played most of the season — playing more minutes than Loftus-Cheek in the process — he has proven with careful management that a fit Wilshere is not too ludicrous a proposition as it was a couple years ago. In fact, whilst Arsenal fans may be divisive on his performances, I thought he played himself into contention for a fresh contract to sign. However, the Jack issue has always been more than just about how good he is at kicking a ball around. Given the obvious connection to the club, the romantic in all of us dreams for the day that he captains Arsenal to a Premier League title (or Champions League I’m not picky). Therefore, it becomes more and more challenging to look at Wilshere from an objective standpoint.
As Wilshere’s contract drama sets up into the final act, Aaron Ramsey finds himself in a similar situation. To sign or not to sign? That is the question. For Ramsey however, he comes hot off the heels of one of his best Arsenal seasons to date; in my eyes, Rambo is the Arsenal player of the season. So surely Arsenal will offer him a contract worthy of such a player? The real question is if they can afford to and if Ramsey would be interested at all. I believe that the reason that he has stayed at the club until now is out of loyalty and love for Wenger not Arsenal itself. Nothing wrong with that of course, not everyone is going to love the club until they die. But it sets up the crushing blow of his inevitable departure that much easier. He has stated in the past that he would like to play in Spain, and having dished out enormous contracts to the likes of Ozil, Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan, and Lacazette, there may not be too much left in the piggybank to give Ramsey the sort of contract he deserves.
I am saddened by the loss of one of these two players, as it’s looking more and more likely that it’ll be one or the other and not both. Whilst it makes sense from a lot of viewpoints, the romantic makes me wish they could’ve played together and excelled. Unfortunately, given that both players are comedically injury-prone, club management really can’t justify keeping both on and giving them a bump in salary. More than that, there simply is not enough space for both in this new-look Arsenal side. How can you fit Wilshere, Ramsey, Ozil, Mkhi, Auba, and Lacazette into an attack? For all of Xhaka’s flaws neither Ramsey or Wilshere could play his role half as well as he can.
There’s also the pressing need to rebuild the squad that a blind man could tell you about the holes currently in it. Given that need, letting go of a free Wilshere vs selling a possibly £50 million Ramsey makes the decision far, far simpler. It’s times like these I wish the management team at Arsenal cared about football performances and not just running it like sardine factory. Then again this is the same set-up that passed up on Allegri to sign Arteta, a guy who has never managed a game in his entire life.
As an Arsenal fan I’m almost sure that the player Arsenal keep (Wilshere) will undoubtedly end up performing at an inferior level to the one they sell (Ramsey). You learn to expect these things as a Gooner. To you newer Arsenal fans, you stop feeling the pain after a while.