Jack Wilshere secured a season-long loan move to Bournemouth on deadline day, despite being reportedly chased by Serie A giants AC Milan and Roma.
According to Sky Sports, the two Italian clubs were keen on taking the English international to Italy for the rest of the season, but instead he opted to move south to join Eddie Howe’s men to kick-start his career.
In his defence, if you consider certain factors including his family, desire to stay in England and an exciting opportunity to be a part of Bournemouth’s on-going development, then the move does make sense for him.
However, it still feels as though it’s the easier option and he turned his back on a great opportunity. Staying in England with the same comforts and sticking to what he knows, when he could have started a fresh challenge and benefited significantly in terms of improving his game by playing in a completely different environment.
Joe Hart deserves plenty of credit for taking that leap after he joined Torino this week, and while circumstances were different and other factors may have been involved, it’s refreshing to see the England goalkeeper make history and start a new challenge in Italy.
In contrast, Wilshere will remain in the Premier League. Granted, Milan are no longer the force that they once were, and Roma are still chasing Juventus’ shadow this year.
But a move to either Milan or Rome would have put him in a different environment, playing for another prestigious club at the top level of European football, training day in and day out with individuals that are international regulars and considered some of the top players in Europe.
Tactically, the tempo of the game in Serie A and the need for creativity in midfield for the two teams in question almost made it a perfect fit.
Further, blighted by injuries over the years, he could have benefited from being at a club that has a history of prolonging careers through excellent medical staff who ensure that the players are in optimum condition.
Without being disrespectful to Bournemouth, it feels as though Wilshere bottled it. Instead of facing Udinese or Sampdoria next weekend, he’ll line up against West Bromwich Albion in front of 11,000 or so supporters at the Vitality Stadium. That’s not to say the San Siro or Stadio Olimpico are exactly packed to the rafters these days, but the stage is still bigger.
Howe is doing great things with the Cherries, but they’re no Milan or Roma, and whether you agree or disagree, a move to Italy would have furthered Wilshere’s career and re-established his reputation on a grander scale if he was able to stay fit and showcase the undeniable talent that he possesses.