West Ham take gamble on Wilshere as he looks to resurrect career
PUBLISHED: 09:30 11 August 2018
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Midfield star aiming to make an impact at club he supported as a boy
When you are signing any new player it is always a gamble – remember Simone Zaza?!
When you are signing Jack Wilshere that gamble becomes an almighty punt, even if he has arrived at the London Stadium on a free transfer.
The England international has made 34 appearances for his country, scoring two along the way, but his career at Arsenal was ittered with costly injuries.
Still only 26, his 10 years at The Emirates yielded 197 appearances and 14 goals, but for the West Ham fan, it is the chance to resurrect his stuttering career.
“People know about my love for West Ham and when I went to Bournemouth on loan, I asked my agent if there had been any word from the Hammers about me,” he said.
That time there wasn’t, but when Wilshere decided he was going to leave Arsenal, he turned his back on big-money moves to Fenerbahce and Borussia Dortmund to come to West Ham.
“I think there is an air of a sense of change at West Ham,” said the midfield man, who has impressed in pre-season.
“I think it’s one of the main reasons I came here. With a manager like Manuel, who has won the Premier League and managed top clubs around Europe, things are moving.
“Once he was appointed, it was obvious the way the owners wanted the club to move forward and I wanted to be a part of that.”
With Cheikhou Kouyate leaving for Crystal Palace, Wilshere becomes an even more important part of the West Ham squad.
He will either slot in alongside Mark Noble, or, as he did at Ipswich in pre-season, play at the tip of a diamond formation.
He is clearly a class player who won two FA Cups during his time with the Gunners, but what about those injuries?
Pellegrini seems to have little doubt about him.
“I had a very good conversation with him and I tried to convince him to come here,” said the boss.
“He is just 26 and if he wanted to go away and earn more money he could, but he decided to play here.
“It is a risk as he had had a lot of injuries in the past, but in his season at Bournemoth he played a lot of games and last season he didn’t have many injuries either.
“At the moment he is fit and we are working out a plan with the doctor and the physical trainer with him so he will be comfortable with what he is doing.”
And Wilshere seems to be relishing the task at his boyhood team.
“We don’t want to take time to settle in,” he said. “We’ve got a big game in the first match of the season – Liverpool away.
“It’s one of the most difficult places to go and we need to be ready for that.”
That is certainly not going to be easy, but with two West Ham fans in midfield in the shape of Wilshere and Noble, there is certainly going to be no shortage of passion.