Arsene Wenger regrets allowing Jack Wilshere to leave Arsenal for Bournemouth loan

Posted Sunday, January 08, 2017 by

Arsene Wenger regrets allowing Jack Wilshere to leave Arsenal for Bournemouth loan
Arsenal are unable to recall Jack Wilshere from his loan at Bournemouth

Arsene Wenger says he regrets allowing Jack Wilshere to leave Arsenal on loan because he is left with few options in midfield.

Wilshere left the Gunners for a season-long move to Bournemouth in a bid to prove his fitness and earn a new contract at the Emirates Stadium.

The England international has enjoyed a run of games on the south coast, something he had failed to do in three years at Arsenal as he was plagued by injuries.

There is no option for Arsenal to recall the 25-year-old despite injuries ruling out Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla, while Mohamed Elneny is away on international duty with Egypt.

Asked if he regretted allowing Wilshere to leave, Wenger said: "Yes, I could use him now.

"But if he had not played until now, he would not be ready to play now. What looks unfair at some moments in the season is that you know at some stage you could need the player.

"But even at the start you need to have the right balance between competition and numbers and chances for the player to play. And still today I think it was the right decision for him to go."

Arsene Wenger regrets allowing Jack Wilshere to leave Arsenal for Bournemouth loan
The loss of Mohamed Elneny to Africa Cup of Nations duty has further depleted Arsenal's midfield

Wenger also revealed he still intends to take up an option to extend the contracts of both Cazorla and Per Mertesacker - despite the pair still being on the treatment table.

Both players see their current deals expire at the end of the season, but the club have the option to extend them for a further 12 months.

Mertesacker has yet to feature for the Gunners this season after suffering a severe knee injury on the eve of the campaign, while Wenger revealed on Thursday that Cazorla's recovery from ankle surgery will take longer than the three months he had initially anticipated.

Despite their continued injury concerns, the pair, both 32, look set to be handed new deals with Wenger keen to keep their experience in and around the squad.

Asked if their contract extensions would be affected by their respective injures, the Arsenal boss said: "No. We have an option on both of them and I think we will take it.

"For their qualities as football players firstly but as well for their mental guidance. We need to have a balance between youth and experience. They are important in that."

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