Henry Winter: This Arsenal midfielder has been an embarrassment for Wenger
By Harry Sykes
Jack Wilshere’s progress since leaving Arsenal has been an “embarrassment” for Arsene Wenger.
That is the no-holds-barred verdict of Times journalist Henry Winter as he assessed the London giants’ transfer dealings last summer.
Wenger’s headline signings were centre-back Shkodran Mustafi, central midfielder Granit Xhaka and forward Lucas Perez, while the Gunners manager took the momentous decision to sanction the exit of Wilshere.
The Gunners midfielder is halfway through a season-long loan from boyhood club Arsenal to Premier League rivals Bournemouth.
He has been a fixture of Eddie Howe’s highly watchable side, thriving in the responsibility of being handed the playmaker role on the south coast.
Subscribe to Football Insider TV now
“Well recruitment is Wenger’s job,” wrote Winter in a question-and-answer Times webchat on Monday. “All the indications this time last year was that [N’Golo] Kante would go to Arsenal. They could have got him. He would have been perfect, and he’s an even more accomplished player this season, attacking wise an extra dimension.
“Mentality is a problem. Leadership is a problem. And Wilshere’s success under Howe is an embarrassment for Wenger.”
Wilshere’s progress at Arsenal had been stunted by a seemingly endless series of significant injuries as well as an environment in which he had failed to make the progress expected following his sensational emergence in his teens.
The England international, 25, has started 15 of Bournemouth’s 22 Premier League matches this season and been a mainstay of the side that is placed 12th in the table.
He has also secured the notable achievement of completing six of the Cherries’ last seven fixtures, a feat that appeared beyond him at Arsenal.
In other Arsenal transfer news, the club are closing in on a big-name defender signing.