Arsene Wenger says he doesn’t know when Jack Wilshere will play again for Arsenal after the midfielder’s return was delayed again.
He was initially supposed to be back for the festive fixtures, but the manager ruled that out earlier this month and, after the Southampton game, he revealed he had no definitive time frame on when the England international might pull on the red and white shirt again.
“He will not be back before February, that’s for sure,” he said. “I said February but honestly I don’t know. I let him do his recovery. It’s going slowly.
“Once he goes again, goes outside to train, once he is back again into sharp, hard work physically, you count five or six weeks, so at the moment he is not there yet.
“It’s not Jack’s fault we lost at Southampton and anyway he cannot play against Bournemouth. We have two short-term worries and we want to respond.”
It’s bad news for Wilshere on a personal level, as whispers in November said he was ahead of schedule so that dreaded setback word has affected us again. His career has been blighted by injury and it’s now at a point where his participation could be considered a bonus, rather than a reliability.
It means that January recruitment is an absolute necessity, with at least one signing lined up as FC Basel’s Mohamed Elneny is set to join early next month.