Arsenal starlet Jack Wilshere has expressed his belief that Arsenal can win a trophy soon.
The Gunners' number 10 explained,
“We all want a trophy. As players, when you finish your careers you look back and see how many trophies you have won.”
The Englishman turned 21 on New Year’s Day after signing a five-year contract with Arsenal, pledging his future to the club, the manager, and the fans amongst whom he is regarded as the most promising homegrown player of his generation.
However, in recent seasons Arsenal have seen a number of their star and key players leave for pastures new – the likes of Ashley Cole, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy, Cesc Fabregas, Kolo Toure, Alex Song, and Robin van Persie all left citing either the club’s lack of ambition or the club’s frugality as their excuses.
Now, the Gunners are locked in last-ditch contract negotiations with Theo Walcott in the hope of convincing him he can win trophies and earn top wages at the Emirates. Bacary Sagna is also wavering in hesitation over his future.
I firmly believe Arsenal can win a trophy in the five years Wilshere has pledged to them – whether they will relies upon their willingness and ability to adapt their wage structure and transfer policy.
If they agree terms to keep Walcott that would be the first sign of genuine ambition – regardless of his role on the winger or through the middle and whether or not he is actually worth the £100,000 a week he’s asking for, he’s a top player who can potentially become world-class.
If he leaves, it’ll likely be for a rival club and that will spell the end of the debate about whether Arsenal are a ‘selling club’. That will be definitive confirmation, if the aforementioned departure weren’t already.
Secondly, Arsenal need to bring in at least one world-class player or future world-class player – whether that be David Villa (which looks unlikely) or potentially Wilfried Zaha, they need a quality addition – not just to appease the fans and the critics but to send a message to their own players, like Wilshere, that they want to win trophies.
Schalke’s Lewis Holtby looks set to go to Spurs – they couldn’t convince him Arsenal was the best place for him to cement his reputation as one of the continents most exciting players – they need now to convince their fans, their players, and their targets that Arsenal is a club moving forward with a hunger and ambition that matches theirs.
If they fail to do so, and I fear, subsequently, fail to mount a genuine bid for the Premier League and Champions League in the years to come, when Jack Wilshere enters the final year of his contract in 2017, by which point he’ll be 25, if he still has no winners medals to his name, he will leave. Probably to a rival club.
Arsenal must act now – or they face the continuing wrath of disillusioned and despondent fans and players for many years to come.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald