Wilshere’s Arsenal future up in air as Wenger prepares to say goodbye to Emirates
The 26-year-old’s contract expires at the end of the season.
Arsene Wenger will wave goodbye to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday but it could also be Jack Wilshere’s final home appearance for Arsenal.
The 26-year-old has been involved in a contract impasse since the turn of the year and his current deal expires at the end of the season.
Wenger, who announced last month he will step down at that time, has always said he is personally keen to keep Wilshere at the club.
But the England international has reportedly been offered a lower basic salary than his current agreement, given his recent injury record.
That has left talks over a deal at a stand-off but Wilshere has more than just his club future on his mind as he targets a place in England’s World Cup squad.
Having been recalled for the March friendlies against Holland and Italy, Wilshere was forced to withdraw from Gareth Southgate’s squad with a slight ankle injury.
I have always said before how proud I am to play for my country. Jack Wilshere
That means he has not played for the Three Lions since the shock Euro 2016 exit at the hands of Iceland but he remains optimistic of making it on the plane to Russia.
“I am hopeful, but it all comes down to Gareth and his coaching staff,” he told Sky Sports.
“I have always said before how proud I am to play for my country. I haven’t done it for a while, I was probably going to do it then I picked up a little knock, which wasn’t ideal, but I am hopeful of going. Am I confident? I am not sure, but I want to go.”
A serious knee injury to Wilshere’s former Arsenal team-mate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain means the Liverpool man will miss the competition, potentially opening up a berth.
But Wilshere admits the current squad is looking strong as Southgate plots for a successful summer.
“There are good players in that team, you have seen it this year,” he said.
“The team has come a long way since the Iceland game where we lost and were really disappointed and there was a lot of rebuilding to do.
“Gareth and his staff have done brilliantly, players have developed since then, you just have to look in the Premier League this season and you see the likes of (Raheem) Sterling and (Harry) Kane both near the top of the scoring charts and doing well.
“There are players throughout – Jordan Henderson is in the Champions League final playing big games – and these players have developed into top players and hopefully we can have a good World Cup.”
With contract talks at Arsenal not progressing and a World Cup spot up in the air, it means Wilshere’s future for club and country will remain a mystery as he and every supporter says farewell to Wenger following Sunday’s clash with Burnley.