The magnetism of England’s south coast proved too strong for Jack Wilshere to resist on transfer deadline day, with the Arsenal ace opting to join Bournemouth on loan for the season after rejecting reported approaches from Crystal Palace, Roma and Milan.
Assuming the perma-crocked 24-year-old can stay out of the sick bay for long enough, it’s sure to prove an almighty coup for Eddie Howe’s troops as they bid to survive in the Premier League for the second successive season, a feat they’re priced up at 1/4 to achieve.
Aside from Wilshere’s myriad injury problems, one notable downside to his acquisition is that a Cherries regular will have to take a seat on the bench to accommodate the new boy’s starting spot.
Howe has deployed a three-man midfield in Bournemouth’s opening trio of Premier League matches, a system which their latest signing is well acquainted with and very much suited to.
Star performers from the previous campaign Andrew Surman and Harry Arter have retained their spots in the side, with rookie Lewis Cook starting the first game, but giving way to Ryan Fraser for fixtures two and three.
A winger by trade, it is the latter who seems the most obvious candidate for the chop when the Cherries tackle West Bromwich Albion after the international break, but there’s an argument to make for giving Arter the axe.
Surman sits the deepest of the midfielders, using his superior passing skills to move the ball around, alternating the points where his team’s attacks originate. Last term he averaged over 60 passes per match and completed approximately 85% of them.
More than one of these passes were considered key, while three of them created goals for teammates.
He adds obvious value to the side, but what Arter offers isn’t as easily discerned.
This season, the former Charlton man has made fewer passes on average compared to Surman at an inferior accuracy to boot. He’s also conceded possession more frequently and is the inferior goal threat too, with 0.3 shots per match dismissing the notion that his lack of passing productivity is owing to a desire to score himself.
Among Wilshere’s strengths is his ability to carry the ball in crowded midfield areas, using sharp passing skills to shift the orb around opponents in close proximity.
With Surman collecting from the defence and supplying the Arsenal academy graduate, he’d offer an effective route through the middle of the pitch without resorting to aerial passes to the frontmen, allowing Bournemouth to develop their celebrated passing style of play.