Arsenal have lain down a new contract offer for Jack Wilshere ahead of the England midfielder’s current deal expiring this summer.
The Mirror report that the Gunners have upped their proposal in order to keep hold of the 26-year-old and give the manager who replaces Arsene Wenger with some bodies in midfield ahead of next season.
The original deal on the table would have seen Wilshere take a £20,000-a-week pay cut – albeit with various incentives and add-ons baked in to sweeten the deal – whereas the injury-prone midfielder is now being handed a contract which looks much more like his current situation.
A loan spell at Bournemouth last year saw Wilshere start more than 20 league games in a season for the first time since 2010/11, but difficulty earning Arsene Wenger’s full confidence upon his return has seen him start just 11 times in the Premier League this season.
Handing a contract worth over £100,000 a week to a player who is ostensibly a backup or – at best – rotation option is a luxury most teams can ill afford, but the Gunners’ central midfield malaise means that they have few better options than keeping hold of a player who has briefly shown flashes of the quality he showcased in his breakthrough more than half a decade ago.
The new Arsenal manager will inherit a midfield consisting almost entirely of Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny. an Aaron Ramsey with just one year left on his contract, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles…kind of.
Whether Wilshere’s retention would improve the average quality of that group is a decision that the club will have to make going forward, but with the likelihood of medium to long runs in four competitions next season, the club will need all the depth it can get.