Once dubbed the next-gen England sensation, it is fair to say that things haven’t quite gone as planned for Jack Wilshere since bursting onto the scene through Arsenal’s youth system in 2008.
Injury, followed by injury, followed by further injuries have plagued his progress to the pinnacle of English football, with Wilshere struggling to get a regular run of football for the last seven years now.
And after his promising spell at Bournemouth ended early due to – you guessed it, injury – Sky Sports Italia’s Gianluca Di Marzio has reported that Italian outfit Sampdoria are gaining interest.
Is there a slim chance he can salvage his Arsenal career?
After returning to the Emirates, after a successful stint at Bournemouth – up until suffering a hairline fracture of his left fibia – Wilshere was left out of the pre-season tour of Australia to aid his recovery.
This will come as a blow for his prospects of forcing a way back into the picture, and into boss Arsene Wenger’s future plans, but it means he now has the summer to focus on regaining his fitness.
Yet, despite enduring further frustrations, he did show last season that he has the potential to still perform at the biggest level in European football, slotting in and performing consistently for them.
During his 27 appearances – being awarded 22 starts by Eddie Howe – he showcased all of the attributes that made him such a promising young talent almost a decade ago, commanding the midfield well with his quick movement, adept decision-making and an excellent eye for a pass.
For somebody who spends so much time on the side-lines he kept up the role of a box-to-box midfielder well too, rarely running low on energy and protecting his back-four stubbornly well.
What he lacks in height and stature compared to rival midfielders, he certainly makes up for in general grit, determination and heart on the football pitch – three things that Arsenal could do with.
At 25 years of age, time is still very much on Wilshere’s side, if – and it’s a very big if – he can avoid being so injury-prone for a decent period of time, and his Arsenal career may not be over yet.
However, there is an awful lot of competition for spots at the Emirates heading into a new season and, without pre-season matches under his belt, it is already an uphill battle for any first-team chances.