Is Jack Wilshere worth the risk for West Ham?
Hammers are close to sealing midfielder’s signature
West Ham United’s business so far this summer has been unusually sensible. They’ve appointed a leading manager in Manuel Pellegrini and addressed some of the weaknesses in their squad.
Issa Diop has arrived to tighten up the defence, Lukasz Fabianksi is a very reliable goalkeeper at Premier League level, while Ryan Fredericks offers much-needed energy at right-back.
The Hammers haven’t finished just yet though, with Jack Wilshere reported to be on the verge of joining the club on a free transfer.
The former Arsenal midfielder clearly has real quality, but he’s also been plagued by injuries throughout his career. Will West Ham be able to rely on him?
Point to prove
Wilshere has spent his entire career to date at Arsenal. He’s always been popular with the fans, but he hadn’t been an automatic starter for a long time.
Injuries are a major factor in that, but the 26-year-old didn’t make the most of the opportunities he did have last season.
He’s still very comfortable on the ball, but he no longer weaves his way through packed midfields in the way he did as a teenager.
But after being left out of England’s World Cup squad, and being told by Unai Emery he’d only have a bit-part if he stayed at Arsenal, Wilshere will be determined to remind people how good he can be.
Change the style
Appointing Pellegrini was something of a coup for West Ham. They’ve got a Premier League-winning manager after spending most of last season avoiding the drop.
The Chilean has been brought in to install the attacking football that the fans want to see at the London Stadium.
A player like Wilshere is perfectly suited to that approach. He’s spent his career to date playing Arsenal’s passing game. He can dictate the tempo in central areas or create chances in the final third.
Can they count on him?
Wilshere’s injuries definitely seem to have had an impact on his game. He’s lost the burst of pace that allowed him to glide away from defenders.
Despite that, he still made 38 appearances for the Gunners in all competitions last season – more than key players such as Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Laurent Koscielny. That suggests he’s capable of handling the demands of a Premier League campaign without breaking down.
Wilshere may not have grown into the player many expected him to, but he’d be a big upgrade on West Ham’s current central midfielders. Getting him on a free transfer could prove to be a very smart piece of business.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing