As reported by Oli Platt of Goal, speculation surfaced in the past few days claiming the Eagles had a keen interest in Wilshere. The England international is trying to battle his way back into the Three Lions squad and isn’t playing regularly enough at Arsenal to do so, so the rumours made sense.
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Hodgson vehemently denied Crystal Palace have discussed signing Wilshere, however, and took a shot at the 25-year-old’s agent in the process:
“Who has linked him? That’s what you need to find out, because it didn’t come from us.
“I will tell you who, his agent – because that’s where newspapers get their stories from.
“We have never mentioned his name. I work with [Palace sporting director] Dougie Freedman and we talk about potential players, and Jack Wilshere’s name has never been mentioned in this room.“
Hodgson didn’t rule out signing Wilshere in the future and admitted he likes the midfielder. He never hid his admiration during his four years in charge of England’s national team.
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Wilshere returned to north London from a loan spell at Bournemouth during the summer eager to push his way back into the plans of manager Arsene Wenger. But the results have been mixed. He hasn’t featured all that much and rarely as a starter, but in his limited game time, he has shown plenty of promise.
Fans of the Gunners were furious when he wasn’t called up for international duty, and while his play probably didn’t warrant such an honour, Footy Accumulators noted Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate picked an odd reason not to bring him into the fold:
Footy Accumulators @FootyAccums
Southgate didn’t call up Wilshere due to ‘fitness issues’ Minutes played this season: Wilshere: 521 Drinkwater: 103 Decent logic, there. https://t.co/Oouh8B3ydf
Wilshere is no longer the highly regarded prospect he once was, as persistent injury problems have robbed him of some of his athleticism. He has missed countless matches because of all kinds of knocks and setbacks, and he can’t be counted on to go through a long stretch without missing time.
Reporter Yomi Kazeem couldn’t help himself during Arsenal’s recent match against Manchester City:
Yomi Kazeem @TheYomiKazeem
Gundogan tackles Wilshere. Both get up and walk away unhurt. A modern day miracle.
But while health is a major issue, Wilshere is still a solid midfielder with good passing range and an admirable work rate. Per the Mirror‘s John Cross, that has made him a wanted man on the transfer market―Cross credited West Ham United, Swansea City and Real Betis with an interest in the player’s services.
A move at some point in the near future seems likely, with his contract set to run out during the summer. Wenger could opt to keep him around, but for the sake of his career and national team hopes, Wilshere needs to move on.
Crystal Palace would have been a good fit—and still might be, with plenty of time left before the January window opens. This shot will not aid the relationship between Hodgson and Wilshere’s representatives but doesn’t make a transfer impossible.