Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has to decide whether he wants to join Crystal Palace or Bournemouth on loan.
The 24-year-old has mutually agreed with his club that after several frustrating seasons it would strengthen his career to play regular first-team football.
He has attracted intense interest since awareness of his availability has spread. There have been enquiries from elsewhere on the continent, but it is thought fellow Premier League teams Palace and Bournemouth most appeal.
Arsenal do not expect to recruit any further players before Wednesday’s transfer deadline, having on Tuesday finally confirmed the signings of Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez.
Calum Chambers also joined Middlesbrough on loan until the end of the season, and the London club are expecting Serge Gnabry to permanently join Werder Bremen.
As with Wilshere, winger Gnabry plays in a position in which Arsenal have considerable strength in depth, and the Bundesliga club’s director of football Frank Baumann on Tuesday spoke of his confidence he would arrive.
Any developments surrounding Wilshere, however, will be the highest profile. The midfielder was excluded from new manager Sam Allardyce’s first England squad after making only two substitute appearances so far this season and barely featuring last season.
Since establishing himself in 2010/11, he has frequently suffered with injuries. The B£35million summer arrival of Granit Xhaka provided a further rival for the defensive midfield role often occupied by Francis Coquelin or Mohamed Elneny, while Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil are usually in competition elsewhere in the midfield three.
The decision surrounding his future will be his, and will surround whether he considers Bournemouth or Palace the more suitable destination to revive his career.
Palace and manager Alan Pardew oversaw such significant progress with Wilfried Zaha after he was loaned to the club when struggling at Manchester United that he returned to the club on a permanent basis.
Similarly, Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe is perhaps the Premier League’s finest young manager and may yet convince him the south coast, and leaving London, will provide a beneficial change of scene. Wilshere was loaned to Bolton in 2010 and made considerable progress.
Crucially for Arsenal, neither club is considered a rival for the Premier League’s top four.