If Rangers DO sign Jack Wilshere, what would they be getting?
The jungle drums are continuing to beat the tune of Jack Wilshere to Rangers.
Just under a week has passed since the 28-year-old Englishman was released by West Ham and the links to an Ibrox move started to begin.
It feels like every man and his dog is having a say on Wilshere – even Spanish World-Cup winner and Barcelona legend Xavi weighed in today, saying that he would instantly become the best midfielder in Scotland.
There’s no doubt Rangers manager Steven Gerrard is an admirer of Wilshere, but if he did decide to swoop for the free agent, what would he be getting?
Wilshere came through the youth academy at Arsenal and made his debut for the Gunners in 2008, aged just 16-years-old. He was exposed to high-level, senior football at a very young age by then Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who fully believed he would become one of the best midfielders in the world. He made his England debut two years later, replacing – ironically – Gerrard in the midfield. By the time his teens were over, he was an established name with both club and country. He’s played at a World Cup for England and has amassed 34 caps, and made 197 appearances for Arsenal before leaving in 2018. He signed a two-year deal with West Ham upon his departure from the Emirates, while he’s also had loan spells and Bournemouth and Bolton Wanderers.
Style of play
The appeal of signing Wilshere comes with his versatility in midfield. He can play deep or advanced in a 4-2-3-1, he’s happy in a 4-4-2 and has the engine to carry box-to-box duties in a 4-3-3. He has also played on the left wing. He has a glorious range of passing and vision, while not being afraid to get stuck in. Wilshere’s style is more continental but, as noted by many of his previous managers, he is not afraid to do the dirty work. Former Rangers hero Rino Gattuso said of him: "He might be not super fast but he's got great skills, he's very technical. When he gets the ball he knows exactly where to send it. He has the mentality of an English player but plays like a Spanish player."
Injuries and fitness
The problem with Wilshere’s career, and ultimately why he is a free agent at the age of 28, has been staying fit. Even from a young age, the Stevenage-born player has been plagued by misfortune. His first serious injury came when he fractured his ankle in 2011, taking months to recover, and since then he fractured his foot and needed surgery on his ankle in 2014. A broken leg followed in 2015, which sidelined him for nearly ten months. His injury problems reportedly followed him to West Ham, although Wilshere often claimed there were deeper reasons at the club for his lack of appearances.
What are the chances of him joining Rangers?
You can’t rule it out, as Gerrard is always on the look-out for reinforcements, but wages could be an issue. Rangers also signed Bongani Zungu to bolster their midfield options. With Glen Kamara, Steven Davis, Scott Arfield, Joe Aribo and Ianis Hagi all in the mix, the Gers boss is resourced there. But while Wilshere remains a free agent, speculation will continue.