In one of the more surprising moves of the summer, Jack Wilshere signed for Bournemouth on transfer deadline day on a season-long loan. Predictably, the move has divided Arsenal fans (what doesn’t?), some seeing it as a risk, others noting that the midfielder needs regular playing time. When I heard the news on Tuesday night, I was initially slightly unsure. Every season, we are beset by an injury crisis, and they usually strike one area of the field. Just last year, a midfield crisis left us with only Mathieu Flamini and Aaron Ramsey in the centre.

The more I think about it, however, the more the move makes sense, both for Wilshere and for Arsenal. For Arsenal, there are positives. Financially, Bournemouth will pay a £2m loan fee, and his 80k-per-week wages in full. This means we are not paying for someone else’s benefit, as often happens with a loan move. Presumably, should he suffer another injury on the south coast, the loan fee means they cannot send him back to us. He will also be working with a young, talented manager, one who tries to play good football in a similar vein to Arsenal.

There is a slight risk considering his contract runs out at the end of next season. If he shines, there is a chance that another big club, whether in England or abroad, could come in for him. Undoubtedly, he loves Arsenal, where he’s played since the age of nine. However, if his injury troubles cease and a top club offers him a guaranteed starting spot, it could be too tempting to turn down. This is unlikely, and I think he will sign a new contract at Arsenal.

More importantly, the move makes sense for the player. His career has stagnated since he broke into the first team in 2010: he made 35 Premier League appearances that season, and outperformed Xavi and Iniesta in the Champions League. Since then, his best season, in terms of league games played, was 25 in 2012-13. In the past three seasons, he has featured in a mere 19 league matches. By definition, stagnation.

I am not critical of Wilshere here, or Arsenal, necessarily. He evidently has terrible injury issues, his ankles are as brittle as Donald Trump’s feelings. Without knowing much about the internal affairs of the club’s medical affairs, it is hard to criticise Arsenal’s doctors and physiotherapists. I also wouldn’t agree that he should change his playing style. He is clearly a combative, quick-footed midfielder, which invites heavy challenges. Perhaps he sometimes holds onto the ball too long, which he could improve on, but if he lost his competitive edge, he wouldn’t be the same player.

What he does need is game time, in a single position, both of which are not available to him at Arsenal right now. He has featured in two league games so far this season, and for once had a full pre-season. He evidently hasn’t been phased out of Arsenal, and if he hadn’t been dropped from the England squad, he’d probably have stayed. However, the cold hard truth, right now, is that he has too many players ahead of him, and hasn’t made any position his own. I personally feel he is best suited to a deeper role, but I would not start him ahead of Cazorla, Xhaka, Coquelin, Elneny or Ramsey. Wilshere, undeniably, is as talented as his colleagues. Yet I cannot see him, currently, overtaking them in the pecking order. He can also play number ten, but again there are too obstacles in his way. His recent appearances have mostly been limited to cameos on the wing. This does little to aid his development.

Many expressed shock that he moved to Bournemouth, a side that finished 16th in the league last season. Would it have been more ambitious to join a bigger club? Supposedly, 22 clubs wanted Wilshere, among whom were Juventus and Roma, who would have offered European football, and Milan. Yet joining Bournemouth is arguably more admirable than joining a top side. Would he have had more game time at Roma? He’d compete with Strootman, Paredes, De Rossi and Nainggolan, among others; it is hard to see him being more than a luxury player there. Conversely, at Bournemouth he is the biggest name. There is nowhere to hide, and he will be expected to deliver every week. Moreover, not playing in Europe will afford him more rest.

Wilshere’s personal life has often upset observers. Should he be partying and smoking into the early hours when he cannot perform for his club? Ultimately, if a player plays well, he wont be criticised for having a life. Ronaldinho the best player in the world, and still had time to party. With Wilshere, it can appear as though he isn’t taking his career seriously. But I don’t agree that a few nights out is the reason for his footballing struggles.

Wilshere evidently pushed for a move away when dropped from the England squad, a clear signal from Big Sam that the player hasn’t evolved as he should have. In terms of club, it is obviously a huge step backwards. For his career, however, I believe it is a risk worth taking. Wilshere is still only 24. He could have stayed at Arsenal and accepted a supporting role; financially, he doesn’t need to move. Yet he so clearly wants to fulfil his potential, and has probably seen how Theo Walcott has stagnated after a bright spell at Arsenal. This isn’t Wilshere’s last chance, the move to Bournemouth isn’t make or break. But if he wants to overcome his injury problems and prove himself to be the best English midfielder of his generation, time is running out. Dropping down a level, playing every week, and becoming the star man, will hopefully help him overcome his troubles and allow him to become an integral part of Arsenal’s first team over the next few years.

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