Throughout his career Jack Wilshire has been a divisive figure. For every person who see him as England’s answer to possession-based football there is another who see him as a primadonna, whose preening and posturing mask a fragility. Whatever camp you find yourself in, one thing is clear – Wilshere’s time at the Emirates seems to be coming to an end.
For Wilshere to maximise his remaining years it would seem prudent for him to seek a change of scenery. Time and time again his body has proved unsuited to the rough and tumble of Premier League life. A move to the slightly more placid Serie A would seem the wisest avenue to success. Odds of 15/1 for him to move to Juventus and 20/1 to side with AC Milan can be found and boosted if you yell ComeOn.
Juventus would seem to be out of reach for Jack Wilshere considering how his career has stagnated in the last couple of years, and the fact Juventus have supplanted themselves as one of the game’s biggest clubs. Yet when you consider Juventus’ transfer strategy, the deal looks more plausible. The Old Lady have long made it their business to ally big money transfers with free acquisitions. In the last few years alone, Juventus have managed to secure the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Dani Alves, Fernando Llorente and Sami Khedira the minute their contracts ran out. With Liverpool midfielder Emre Can pencilled in as their next bargain, it is clear that Juventus see no reason to change their MO.
Wilshere could very well be the latest name in an illustrious list.
Another of Italy’s Superclubs could prove to be a safe haven for Wilshere. AC Milan may have slipped down the footballing totem pole since their Kaka-inspired Champions League winning days, but they remain one of the most recognisable clubs in world sport. Last season saw a £160million summer spending spree on the likes of Leonardo Bonucci, Andre Silva, Frank Kessie, Ricardo Rodriguez and Hakan Çalhanoğlu, yet with financial hardship on the horizon, it seems a change of tact is in order.
Ever since Chinese businessman Yonghong Li purchased the club, Milan have been hit with a litany of problems. The Chinese government frowning upon such ostentatious and frivolous spending has caused friction for Li, as has UEFA’s reluctance to be lenient in regards to the application of the Financial Fair Play rules. All the problems at Milan have been exacerbated by the inability to secure Champions League football and the monetary windfall that would have kept the wolf from the door for that little bit longer.
All of this plays into Wilshere’s hands. Milan’s need for proven players for bargain prices would ensure Wilshere plays more of a prominent role were he to saddle-up in Turin. More playing time can only be assured if Wilshire can improve his dire injury record, something that is more achievable at AC Milan than anywhere else in the world, given the world famous MilanLab.
The medical facility that extended the playing careers of the likes of Cafu, Seedorf and Maldini into their forties, is just the place for Wilshire to finally string a couple of uninterrupted seasons together.
Paul Merson once said of Wilshire, “in years to come I think he will become an Arsenal great like Liam Brady.” For Wilshire that ship has sailed. Attaining legendary status is well outside his grasp, instead he needs to maximise the potential that remains to him, and that goal can be found only in Italy.