Julian Finney/Getty Images
Arsene Wenger has hinted Jack Wilshere could be handed a new contract by December if he maintains his fitness and puts in “top-level” performances until then.
He told beIN Sports (h/t MailOnline’s Jonathan Spencer):
“He needs to keep his health and be capable of competing. If he can play from now until December at the top level, he will be back. If he has other setbacks then it will be more difficult.
“It’s a vital season because he’s nearing the end of his contract, it’s a World Cup year and he has been an Arsenal player since he was a kid, so all that’s at stake for him and for us as well because you’d love a player like him of that quality to come back.”
Injuries have caused the midfielder’s Arsenal career to stall in recent years and last season he broke his leg while trying to prove himself on loan at Bournemouth.
Wilshere is yet to feature in the Premier League for the Gunners this season but has impressed while completing 90 minutes against BATE Borisov in the UEFA Europa League and Doncaster Rovers in the Carabao Cup, as well as a brief cameo in the former competition against Cologne.
Bleacher Report’s James McNicholas was among those to praise Wilshere’s performance against Borisov:
The player believes he is starting to regain both form and fitness, per Goal’s Chris Wheatley:
Chris Wheatley @ChrisWheatley_
Wilshere: “That’s coming back and my fitness levels, if I’m honest, are probably the best they’ve ever been. I look at my numbers after the game and I’ve been out for four months and I’m not the one who hasn’t run the most.” https://t.co/8HM4RY1Dec
The 25-year-old is in the final year of his contract and will be free to negotiate with foreign clubs in January, and while he turned down the likes of AC Milan when he opted for Bournemouth last year, such a move could still appeal.
While Wilshere needs to stay fit for the entire campaign to convince, there could be some merit to handing him a new deal if he continues to impress in the coming months, particularly against stronger opponents than BATE and Doncaster.
The Gunners have 19 fixtures before the end of the year (20 if they progress in the Carabao Cup) including games against Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Liverpool, so there will be plenty of opportunities for Wilshere to make a case for a contract.
It’s make or break for him at the Emirates Stadium now.