According to reports in The Mirror, Southampton have joined West Ham United in the race to sign Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, rated at £18m by Transfermarkt, after he announced on Tuesday that he would be leaving the Gunners when his contract expires at the end of the month, and he should snub the Irons and join the south coast club.
The 26-year-old confirmed via his Instagram account that he wasn’t going to be stay on after he was told by new boss Unai Emery that he would only be a fringe player next term.
The Mirror says that the England international already has offers on the table from the Irons, Wolves, Sampdoria and AC Milan, and now Saints manager Mark Hughes is ready to enter the chase to bring him to St Mary’s.
The Sun on Sunday reported on June 17 suggested that the east London outfit are ready to hand Wilshere a four-year deal worth £130,000-a-week – something that Southampton may need to match to sign the midfielder.
While many still question whether he can stay fit on a regular basis, he certainly answered some of those critics during the 2017/18 campaign when he made 38 appearances in all competitions for the Gunners, scoring twice and providing a further six assists.
The 26-year-old has become known as something of a dribbling master during his career because of his ability to bring the ball forward and beat a man in the middle of the park, and he lived up to that reputation last term as he successfully completed 86 of the 117 dribbles he completed in 33 outings in the Premier League and the Europa League, as per WhoScored.com.
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Wilshere seemed to thrive during a season-long loan spell with Bournemouth previously when he was the main man, and that would be the case if he joined Saints, whose fans hate the idea of signing a 26-year-old target following his opening World Cup display, too given they only narrowly avoided relegation to the Championship last term.
Mark Hughes would likely build his team around the 26-year-old, but it is hard to see that being the same case at West Ham, where he would be joining the likes of Marko Arnautovic, Javier Hernandez and other potential marquee additions this summer.