Jack Wilshere leaving Arsenal on loan is the first sign the midfielder might not have a future at the Emirates, according to Gunners legend Ray Parlour.
The England international signed for Bournemouth on a temporary deal until the end of the season, in an attempt to play consistent first-team football which he would not have been guaranteed in North London.
Arsene Wenger has built a squad with a number of solid midfield options, pushing Wilshere down the pecking order, and rather than sit on the bench the 24-year-old has moved away to prove he deserves a starting role with the Gunners.
However, a loan deal at his age also throws up other questions, such as whether Wilshere actually has a future at Arsenal?
If the Gunners enjoy a successful season without the midfielder, how will he able to claim his place back in the squad with Wenger knowing he doesn’t need to call upon the former academy star.
There are both positives and negatives to the loan move, but Parlour believes this is the first indication Wilshere’s future lies away from the Emirates.
Speaking on Drive, the 43-year-old said: “This is the first sign he probably hasn’t [got a future], when you go out on loan.
“I know why Jack’s going out on loan; it’s so frustrating when in that treatment room. He’s not had a regular place in that football team for a long time. And he wants to get doing what he loves doing – playing football on a Saturday.
“It’s no good training every week, he’s got to be playing! That’s why I admire him for what he’s done, because he could easily have said ‘okay, I’ll sit on the bench and wait for my time’.
“But he wants to get out there and prove to people who have doubted him.
“If he has a brilliant season, they’ll have him straight back, sign a new contract then maybe he’s in that team.”
The main reason Wilshere has found his playing time so limited in recent seasons is due to his incredibly poor injury record – which saw him play just three Premier League games last term.
The move to the Cherries should offer the midfielder the chance to establish himself as a key player under Eddie Howe, but Parlour is aware Wilshere’s body remains the key question as to whether he can make it at the top level of English football.
Parlour added: “The problem is his body; can he handle it? That’s been his problem for the last three years. There’s no one doubting he’s a brilliant player.
“But he keeps getting injuries. There’s something in his body that’s not handling the Premier League. And that’s what he’s going out to do – to play on a regular basis.
“I think it’s a good move for Jack, he needs to play football. So let’s hope he has a really good season as the main man for Bournemouth.
“Bournemouth fans have got an excellent player on their books now, if he can stay fit. And that’s the question mark in the whole situation.”