Jack Wilshere will want reassurances on his likely first-team opportunities when he finally holds talks this week with Arsenal about whether to stay this summer.
The uncertainty that surrounds Arsène Wenger, Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez has overshadowed Arsenal’s season but Wilshere, as well as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kieran Gibbs, is also approaching the final year of his contract.
Although Wenger has publicly said that he wants to keep Wilshere, there has been no offer as yet on a deal that expires in 2018 but talks are scheduled this week.
Wilshere’s big concern is playing time and, having made 26 appearances this season on loan at Bournemouth, now hopes that his persistent problem with ankle and foot injuries are behind him.
Arsenal were encouraged earlier in the season by Wilshere’s progress – and may well have recalled him in January if the loan was not a full season – but the 25-year-old has since slipped out of Eddie Howe’s regular starting team.
His absence has also coincided with an upturn in results, with Wilshere only coming on as a substitute in Bournemouth’s recent wins against Swansea City and West Ham United.
Arsenal do also have plenty of midfield options but, with the exception of Santi Cazorla until his injury in September, it is a position where players have under-performed. Francis Coquelin appears to have regressed in the holding midfield role, Aaron Ramsey has again struggled for consistency amid niggling muscular injuries while Granit Xhaka appears unsure of his role and has been a liability with his tackling.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has delivered only encouraging glimpses in a central role and, while Mohamed Elneny has always performed consistency, Wilshere would certainly be involved if he can get back to anything approaching his teenage form.
Wilshere joined Arsenal as a nine-year-old and his long association has previously always made both player and club hope that he will spend his entire career at the Emirates but Bournemouth are now keen to make his loan permanent.