Jack Wilshere’s Departure Reminiscent of Wenger Swan Song

Jack Wilshere's Departure
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 06: Jack Wilshere of Arsenal in action during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Burnley at Emirates Stadium on May 6, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

A thought occurred to me not long after Wenger announced his decision to leave. I thought, “does mean Jack is leaving, too?”. Of course, I didn’t make those feelings public as the thought itself seemed both premature and possibly way off target. After all, Wilshere’s love for Arsenal is absolutely unquestionable. However, Jack Wilshere’s departure from the club feels very similar to that of Arsène Wenger.

Jack Wilshere’s Departure: My Take

The two of them, Wilshere and Wenger that is, are no doubt fond of each other. The Frenchman seemed like a second father to the England international, bringing him through the youth ranks and handing him a debut a decade ago. So, Jack Wilshere’s departure seems appropriate from an emotional point of view. After all, what would coming back to the club for pre-season training without the one constant for over two decades suddenly gone be like for Jack?

Then, of course, there are the football reasons.

Wilshere would have been a bit-part player under Unai Emery. Possibly he could have eventually worked his way back into the midfield, but that would have to be at the expense of a regular first-teamer, most likely through injury. With Mesut Özil and Aaron Ramsey blocking his path, not to mention Granit Xhaka and possibly even Lucas Torreira, this would have, objectively speaking, worsened the team talent-wise.

From the player’s perspective, this gives him much more control over just how much football he will play over the next few seasons. Especially if he signs for a ‘lesser’ club, Jack Wilshere will get more minutes. Obviously, this is wonderful for the player because he wants to play as much as possible. Plus, it gives hope to his dream of returning to the England national squad in the future. The more time he gets to play, the better the chances that Gareth Southgate will pick him.

Ouch, Though

Still, even though leaving is best for the club and for the player, this hurts. Ouch. I mean, this guy has been at the club for almost as long as many fans have been alive. Personally, I started following the club right around the time Wilshere made his debut. This feels a lot like when Wenger left. Like we’re losing a family member.

So, the changing of the guard continues at the Emirates.

First, Wenger’s powers were waned by the acquisitions of Sven Mislintat and Raul Sanllehi. Then, the so-called ‘dead wood’ was stripped from the club in the form of Giroud, Walcott, Coquelin and Debuchy departing the club. Perhaps Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can be placed here as well.

Slowly, the acquisitions were made; Alexandre Lacazette last summer, joined by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in January. After that, the Boss himself called it quits, though probably not by choice. Now, finally, the man we all thought would be the undisputed Arsenal captain by now is leaving the club.

And more new faces keep coming. Earlier this week the club announced the coaching staff for next season, featuring several of Emery’s chosen men. Stephan Lichtsteiner joined on a free, Bernd Leno was bought from Bayer Leverkusen, Sokratis Papasthatopoulos is due in July and the deal for Lucas Torreira looks hopeful.

All this change is good. It must be when the past is defined by stagnation-induced failure. But, yeah, it still hurts.

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