Football’s free agency pool is currently fronted by several notable names, each without a club at present and sure to appeal to sides seeking cost-efficient ways to strengthen.
Amongst the most intriguing options is Jack Wilshere, the midfielder plotting his next career move after being released from his contract at West Ham, the 34-cap England international unable to force his way into David Moyes’ plans at the London Stadium.
His release caps a stark fall from grace for a player once lauded as the future of both Arsenal and England, Wilshere’s career having sadly been decimated by a succession of injury problems with the 28-year-old having started just six Premier League fixtures over the past two seasons.
Wilshere insists he has been fully fit and ready to play for several months and, at an age when many players are considered to be in their prime, he is likely to appeal to clubs seeking additional midfield creativity.
So for those of you interested in the best Sports Review sites like SBR, we’ve decided to look at how the bookies view Wilshere’s future.
Here are the five favourites to sign free agent Jack Wilshere:
Cardiff – 16/1
Having struggled for regular first-team football, Wilshere’s priority will surely be a prominent role at his next club with a drop into the Championship a potential possibility.
Promotion hopefuls Cardiff City have been ranked as 16/1 odds to secure the signing of the midfielder, in what would represent a significant coup should Wilshere remain at full fitness.
Cardiff have strengthened during the summer with the arrivals of Welsh internationals Kieffer Moore and Harry Wilson and the arrival of Wilshere could provide Neil Harris’ side – who have scored just six league goals so far this season – with another injection of creative quality as they bid to return to the Premier League.
Wage demands are likely to be a decisive factor in any potential deal, however, and it remains to be seen whether a second tier side are prepared to gamble on a player with a concerning injury record.
Arsenal – 12/1
A perhaps romantic move but one that appears wholly unlikely, even if the bookmakers rank Arsenal as the fourth favourites for Wilshere’s signature.
The midfielder came through the academy ranks at the north London side and became their youngest-ever league debutant as a teenager, spending a decade in the first-team set up and twice lifting the FA Cup in addition to the PFA Young Player of the Year award.
Wilshere’s well-documented injury problems have robbed the 28-year-old off the youthful dynamism he showed when bursting onto the scene with the Gunners, and it is a factor that appears to make him ill-fitting for Mikel Arteta’s new-look side.
Arteta has attempted to instil an intensity into his side that Arsenal have long lacked and Wilshere’s fragile body would appear unsuited to the Spaniard’s demands.
Aston Villa – 7/2
Aston Villa’s lack of depth in central midfield has seen them ranked at 7/2 odds to seal the signing of Wilshere, the free agent offering a potential cost-efficient solution to Dean Smith’s side.
Villa have begun the new season in impressive fashion following a strong summer of recruitment, a new-look side winning four of their opening five fixtures with the likes of Jack Grealish and loanee Ross Barkley starring.
Wilshere’s arrival would add another technical talent to Dean Smith’s options, though competition is fierce for a first-team place with the likes of John McGinn and Douglas Luiz also amongst Villa’s ranks.
If Wilshere is prepared to fight for his position after an extended spell on the sidelines this could prove a viable move, though Villa would likely be cautious with their contract offer.
Rangers – 11/4
Rangers emerged as the early frontrunners to sign Wilshere and the Scottish league leaders are regarded as an 11/4 chance to sign the midfielder, where he could play under the tutelage of former England teammate Steven Gerrard.
Gerrard will be well aware of the talent Wilshere possesses and he would represent a statement signing for Rangers as they bid to end Celtic’s domestic dominance, provided he can remain fully fit in a physically demanding division.
Wilshere has, however, spoken of his desire to play for a club where he feels he is ‘an important part of it’, and the prospect of challenging for silverware and joining a side with feverish support could appeal at this stage of his career.
Financial compromises will have to be made, but it looks like an option that could suit both club and player as they bid to move forward.
Any MLS club – 9/4
Moving abroad would hand Wilshere a chance to remove himself from the Premier League limelight and he has discussed the possibility of moving to the United States and MLS.
Speaking on the prospect, he told Sky Sports: “I don’t think I’m too young for the MLS. It’s on Sky Sports, I think there’s been a big improvement in that league. If the right opportunity came up I’d be open to it.”
The midfielder says he remains ‘open to anything’ at this stage and has spoken to his agent regarding potential possibilities, a move to the US emerging as the likeliest outcome for the free agent in the opinion of the bookmakers.
Wilshere perhaps lacks the star appeal of some of the previous MLS imports from the Premier League, but would provide a touch of quality for any side in the division if he can overcome his injury problems.
The widespread usage of artificial pitches, however, may be a concern for a player who has long struggled with fitness issues.