Most Arsenal fans won’t want to hear such talk, but rumours abound that brilliant-but-broken midfielder Jack Wilshere may be sold by the club this summer, as boss Arsene Wenger loses patience with the England regular’s off-the-field antics and injury woes.
Wilshere became the second Arsenal player reprimanded for smoking this season after keeper Wojciech Szczesny, according to The Metro. It was the third time the son of Stevenage has been caught puffing on camera.
However, as The Mirror’s Andy Dunn has already stated, the odd drag off a cigarette or shisha pipe is not Wilshere’s problem. It’s his dodgy ankles.
If Arsenal can get £25m for the 23-year-old, they’d be mad to turn it down based on his injury record, and a couple of Wilshere’s some-time Three Lions teammates are also struggling to stay fit long enough to justify their wages at the Emirates.
Walcott has sat out an extraordinary tally of 118 Arsenal matches since the start of the 2008/09 campaign, according to transfermarkt.com, and has only made it into nine of Wenger’s Premier League starting line-ups over the past season-and-a-half, largely due to successive injuries.
Having come off the treatment table at the start of 2015, the former Southampton flyer is yet to reclaim his place at right-forward from Danny Welbeck, who has missed just 30 club matches through injury over the last six campaigns.
Left-back Kieran Gibbs, who started England’s European Championship wins over San Marino and Slovenia earlier this season, is another of Arsenal’s Three Lions contingent struggling for game time at present.
The 25-year-old is yet to make more than 24 starts in a Premier League season since breaking into the Emirates squad more than seven years ago, despite being nominal first choice since Gael Clichy left for Manchester City in the summer of 2011.
With Nacho Monreal seemingly preferred at left-back by Wenger at present, having started five of Arsenal’s past six Premier League games while Gibbs kicks his heels on the bench, the Lambeth lad’s immediate future is far from mapped out.
It’s likely Wenger would attract the best part of £60m for this trio if they were put up for sale, which probably pays for midfielders William Carvalho and Adrien Rabiot with money left over.
He should consider it.