Squad no. assigned: Arsenal signs incisive midfielder to replace Santi Cazorla

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JACK WILSHERE has been told he has to prove he can get back to his best before Arsenal will even consider the offer of a new contract.

The England midfielder is back at the club after spending last season on loan at Bournemouth, but his contract runs out next summer and, at 24, a series of injuries has cast him way down the pecking order at the Emirates.

Crystal Palace tried to take him on loan last summer when Wilshere went to Bournemouth and have renewed their interest again since Frank de Boer took over, and Wenger hinted that Wilshere might be allowed to leave again in a bid to secure a new deal.

“If he gets back to his best and wants to stay, we have to sit down later in the season,” he said. “I don’t rule that out.

“But today in the football world you need to be a consistent presence and what is at stake for Jack is not his quality, his talent or his determination, it is whether he is a consistent presence at the top.

“I’m open to a loan move. We have honest conversations. I’m open to what is the best for him. He is at the stage of his career where he needs to play and I can’t guarantee him today that.”

Wilshere’s frustrations spilled over when he was sent off playing for the Arsenal under-23 team against Manchester City and later brawled in the tunnel, earning a three-match ban that was yesterday reduced to two games on appeal.

Wenger, though, was forgiving in the circumstances.

“At my stage and with my experience in football, I can understand a lot – especially what happened to him,” he said.

“Ideally he should not have responded at all, but when you have gone through what he has gone through, when you get a bad tackle, it was a human reaction.

“At the moment he is working very hard to come back after his fracture so overall another setback would be terrible – and it was a bad tackle.”

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