While the internet has been full of effusive praise for Roma’s wondrous 2016 campaigm—one in which they scored the most goals in Serie A and were among the best teams on the continent (in terms of points earned) for the soon-to-be-closing calendar year—all of that really amounted to nothing. Sure, Spalletti’s return to Roma was exciting and probably exceeded our wildest imaginations considering how poorly they were playing under Rudi Garcia, but second place is just that; good but not good enough.
Part and parcel of that finish, some say, is a deplorable lack of midfield depth. With Radja Nainggolan, Kevin Strootman and Daniele De Rossi being pushed to the brink this season, and with no Seydou Keitas or William Vainqueurs to back them up, the lack of an attacking spark (or really competent midfield play) off the bench may once again be Roma’s foil down the stretch.
And while we’ve profiled everyone from Tomas Rincon to Riccardo Saponara to Alejandro Gomez as possible solutions, it seems as though Arsenal’s forgotten wunderkind Jack Wilshere, whose career seems to be circling the drain already, is once again being connected with a loan move to Roma. You may recall a similar story bandied about this past summer.
While Wilshere didn’t ultimately move abroad in August, he nonetheless found a new home in Bournemouth, for whom he has been decidedly average in 14 league appearances, registering one assist while averaging 2.4 dribbles per match. He is, however, only 24-years-old and as such contains the ever seductive appeal of potential.
Wilshere’s age, versatility and touch on the ball have always drawn rave reviews and are the very reason clubs like Roma and AC Milan have come sniffing about, hoping to at last unravel the enigma that is Wilshere. With his contract set to expire in 2018 and no discernable place with the Gunners, Arsenal seems amenable to another loan spell for Wilshere, though whether or not they’ll budge on their €30 million asking price is another question entirely.
As far as the likelihood of this move is concerned, we’ll revisit The Telegraph's take on this move from August:
Former Tottenham Hotspur director of football Franco Baldini is working as a transfer consultant for Roma and was in England over the weekend.
Baldini already knows Wilshere from his time working as assistant to Fabio Capello, when he was manager of the England national team.
Arsenal would have no problem with Wilshere moving to Roma, where the slower pace and less physical style of football would be good for him but money may well be an issue.
Although Wilshere is by no means among Arsenal’s highest earners, Roma are struggling for cash and may not be able to pay his full £90,000-a-week salary.
That means Arsenal would have to agree to subsidise Wilshere’s wages while he was away for a move to Roma to go through before Wednesday’s transfer deadline.
That was from this summer, obviously we’re not smack up against a deadline so there would appear to be ample time to make this move a reality.
As we mentioned, Wilshere’s ability to cover the whole swath of the midfield, his age and still enormous potential makes this an intriguing, albeit unlikely, move.
So what do we think Roma fans? Is the juice worth the squeeze, can Wilshere thrive in a different league, or is he merely a product of the FA hype train?