How would you feel if Arsenal signed a world-class player on a free transfer? Hello, Jack Wilshere.
Having already been out for 13 months due to injury, Wilshere being able to play again will be exactly like a new signing for Arsenal. The last time Wilshere played in 2011, Robin van Persie, Alex Song, Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy, among others, all shared the pitch. There have been many changes to the squad and it will be like playing for a completely new team.
Fans of the club were upset when head coach Arsene Wenger didn't sign another world-class player to offset the departures of van Persie and Song during the end of the transfer window. But most people seemed to overlook the fact that Wilshere, arguably Arsenal's best player at just 20 years old, is lurking in the shadows, waiting for his time to get back on the pitch. He's almost a forgotten man.
Wilshere should return in around a month and his reintroduction will provide a huge jolt to both his teammates and the fan base. What else could possibly happen? This man was the youngest to ever appear for Arsenal in a league game at 16 years old. Former England boss Fabio Capello once said this about Wilshere: "This is not normal; to be so young and so good." He was named PFA Young Player of the Year and Arsenal Player of the Season for the 2010-2011 campaign. A player like this will make everyone in the club better. Wilshere is, at 20, already the kind of player fans have been begging Wenger to buy. And besides, who needs Nuri Sahin?
But of course, he won't make a huge impact right away. Wenger should, and most likely will, bring him off the bench so he can ease into this long and difficult campaign. If Wenger wanted to be really cautious, he could bring Wilshere on for Abou Diaby late in games. He and Diaby can help each other out; they've both been injured for long periods of time so the two of them won't have to grind. When the two start having to grind, that's when they start missing more games.
But once Wilshere is fully healthy and back to match fitness, Wenger should just insert him into the midfield. There hasn't been any reason for Mikel Arteta, Diaby or Santi Cazorla to lose their place, but there has been a plethora of reasons to take Gervinho off the right side of the pitch and onto the bench. Cazorla could slide over to the right so Wilshere can be in the central attacking midfielder role and Lukas Podolski could move to the left wing, where he's most comfortable. Olivier Giroud will be the lone striker. But with a player of Wilshere's caliber, there could be any number of setups. Wilshere's presence will take an already great midfield and make it elite.
There were several reasons why last season's squad was considered to be Wenger's worst since he took over. Wilshere's absence was a considerable one.