Arsenal are facing fresh calls to bring one of the club’s most beloved sons back to the Emirates Stadium during the January transfer window.
Jack Wilshere has been tipped to make a stunning return from the Gunners to help resolve Mikel Arteta’s squad crisis which led to the postponement of Sunday’s North London derby.
The Gunners would only have 12 first-team players fit for the clash against Tottenham – below the threshold of 13 outfield players and a goalkeeper – with the Premier League granting their request to postpone the clash between big rivals.
Mid-park presented a particular problem for Arteta, who had only one in-form senior midfielder available for the derby.
With Granit Xhaka suspended following his red card against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup on Thursday night, Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny at the Africa Cup of Nations and Martin Odegaard out with COVID-19, only Albert Sambi Lokonga remains as his only option. in the center midfield.
Youngster Charlie Patino, who scored his first goal for the club in their cup quarter-final against Sunderland, is also an option, but the Gunners are still extremely short.
A horde of Arsenal fans want to see Wilshere back at the club to help, calling for the former Gunners star to be given a short-term contract during their squad’s crisis.
Wilshere is currently a free agent but has been training with the Arsenal squad to maintain his fitness as he aims to return to club football in the January transfer window.
It may seem drastic to turn to a 30-year-old former player, without a club for eight months.
But former Premier League striker and lifelong Gooner Darren Bent wholeheartedly agrees.
Speaking on Drivetime, the talkSPORT pundit said: “Bring Jack back! Bring back Jack!
“Of course, he’s a friend of ours, he’s near the station.
“But you’re talking about a guy who’s in construction, he works for Arsenal Football Club.
“Arteta would see him every day and he is light in this midfield – give him a short-term contract!
“Let him go out and play, it’s not a silly idea. He knows the club like the back of his hand, it’s his club!
Questions have also been raised over the timing of a number of Arsenal transfer deals in January, with players allowed to leave on loan despite lacking options.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles left to join Roma on loan, with Folarin Balogun also signing for Middlesbrough on loan for the remainder of the 2021/22 season.
The timing of the departures, along with Arsenal’s demand to cancel the North London derby – and claims it was unrelated to COVID – has led to a dramatic online backlash.
Including from talkSPORT host Adrian Durham, who not only questioned why Arsenal signed their loan exits as games were canceled left, right and centre, but also why Under-23 players n weren’t used instead, after noticing they were in action on Friday night.
The backlash comes amid claims Premier League clubs are abusing Premier League rules to postpone matches.
Saturday’s league clash between Burnley and Leicester City has been postponed following a request from the Clarets due to cases of COVID-19 and injuries in their side.
The Premier League agreed to Burnley’s request to call off the game as the Clarets did not have enough players to fill the game – a minimum of 13 outfield players and one goalkeeper.
But questions have also been raised over the move after Burnley decided to cash in on striker Chris Wood, selling him to Newcastle United for £20million.
“Burnley sell first team player for millions then cancel game because they don’t have enough players,” the talkSPORT Durham host added on Twitter.
“Is everyone okay with that?”
Several managers have also lobbied the Premier League over their rules, including Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl, who reiterated his view that new signings should not be able to play in rescheduled matches.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel also said he would be “very angry” if rivals abuse carry-over rules to cover injuries and the loss of Africa Cup of Nations players.
“I strongly, strongly hope that is not the case otherwise I would be very, very angry,” Tuchel said.
“We do everything we can to make the games happen and we were forced to play when we thought maybe we shouldn’t.
“I can only strongly hope that the rules are the same for everyone.”
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