When a 16-year old Jack Wilshere stepped out on to Premier League turf to become Arsenal’s youngest ever debutant, the world appeared to be at his feet. His England debut soon followed, and he won numerous admirers across the footballing world by the time he hit 20.
A world-class performance against Barcelona in the Champions League aged just 18 led to Barca manager Pep Guardiola heaping praise on the youngster from Stevenage. It appeared Wilshere had all the makings of a player that could make it to the very, very top of the game.
However, a series of injuries and off-the-pitch controversies has seen Wilshere fall very much out of favour with both Arsenal and England.
Yet to fulfil his potential, he spent last season on-loan at fellow Premier League outfit Bournemouth – where he also failed to impress. The south coast side reportedly reneged on a deal to sign Wilshere permanently, with manager Eddie Howe having understandable concerns about Wilshere’s attitude.
Perhaps the best option for Wilshere then, to avoid continued stagnation, is to move abroad. Reportedly the subject of serious interest from La Liga side Real Betis, the ball appears to be in Wilshere’s court regarding the likelihood of the move – with his current club Arsenal willing to sell.
With Betis having signed Joel Campbell from the Gunners on loan in the summer, the Costa Rican has enjoyed his return to the Benito Villamarin so much he is already certain he wants to sign permanently. With Wilshere in regular contact with his ex-teammate, it is likely he could be persuaded to become a part of a resurgent Betis side.
Betis, who have perhaps been the most watchable side in the league so far this season with a wonderful brand of attacking football, would surely allow Wilshere the freedom of movement he craves – with ex-Man City man Javi Garcia providing the anchor behind him.
The language barrier and cultural differences are worth taking into consideration, but with Seville a fantastic city to live in for both natives and expats – it is unlikely that the Arsenal man would struggle to settle in.
Limited to the odd Europa League appearance with Arsenal, the time appears right for Jack Wilshere to try something new, particularly in a World Cup year. When Real Betis come calling in January, will he be brave enough to say yes?