As blasé as Arsene Wenger seems to be about getting his current players to sign contract extensions, he and the Arsenal board should take responsibility for the ongoing uncertainty concerning many of its top stars.
The Managers own hesitations about his position led to a crisis of confidence last season and set the team on a disastrous run that ended any prospect of the club challenging for the Premiership.
Many of the players were left in a position that suited themselves and their agents as a bargaining chip but did not represent the best interests of the club. Sanchez and Ozil were allowed superstar status to dictate their negotiations which was a grave mistake and led to a standoff that Wenger claimed was satisfactory and we would see more of in the future.
Yet having navigated this series of dramas and realised that there were major failings in the clubs management of the situation, they allow Jack Wilshere’s contract to wind down to just 6 months.
Wilshere is without question the finest midfield talent this Country has produced since Paul Gascoigne. He is a firm fans favourite and loves the club dearly and although he has suffered a hideous amount of injuries in his career, he would walk into any first team including United and City.
The 25-year-old is a player blessed with a sublime touch, great vision and movement. He can provide skills that the majority of fans only associate with the elite foreign players.
In fact, on the evidence of this season he would be one of the first names on the team sheet but alas he is deemed to only be good enough to play with the other unwanted souls or those that are surplus to requirements.
The club has allowed itself no wiggle room in its negotiations with the player who has been very impressive of late and will now have to rely on his loyalty to the club and a substantial financial offer to retain his services.
We shouldn’t be surprised, we’ve seen evidence of this kind shambolic negotiations before. Remember when Dennis Bergkamp was nearing the end of his career and he wanted a 12-month extension?
Bergkamp was part of the invincibles team of 2003-2004 and helped the club to win three Premier League titles and four FA trophies. Wenger and the club dithered and postponed discussions for months, leaving the player in limbo.
It was nothing short of a disgrace for one of the finest players to ever pull on an Arsenal shirt. The club needs to change urgently and offer the stars it believes in longer contracts and enter into negotiations 18 months before they expire.
For all the changes we keep hearing about, this is the priority. Arsenal losing Wilshere would be like the Queen flogging her crown to cash converters.
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