Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere represents a £30m signing for AFC Bournemouth after securing a season-long loan move to the Vitality Stadium, according to Paul Merson. The England international will spend the 2016-17 campaign on the south coast having failed to start any of the Gunners' first three Premier League games following consecutive seasons ravaged by injury.
Wilshere has not made a top-flight start since May 2015, having missed the first eight months of last term with a broken leg. Though the ex-Bolton Wanderers loanee featured at the European Championships he was omitted from Sam Allardyce's first England squad for the World Cup qualifier against Slovakia having been overlooked by Arsene Wenger during the early weeks of the season.
In order to recapture form and fitness, Wilshere was made available for a loan move in the twilight of the transfer window and following offers from Serie A duo AC Milan and Roma as well as Alan Pardew's Crystal Palace, he was eventually seduced by Eddie Howe at Bournemouth. Former Arsenal midfielder Merson says the addition of Wilshere is a coup and believes Wenger has heavily influenced the move.
"I think it's a great move for both," Merson told Sky Sports. "Bournemouth are getting a £30m player for pretty much nothing for one season, so credit to Bournemouth, to the players and to the staff. Arsene Wenger has probably said to Wilshere, 'Go down to Bournemouth, they play good football, they get the ball on the floor, they'll go through you'. And for me, if he can get the games going, he'll be the difference in keeping them up this season. It's a great signing.
"He's probably been doubting himself with his confidence having been dropped by England and I just think the lad needs to get playing. When he first got on the scene at Arsenal he was a bit of a jack the lad in a good way; confident, wanting the ball. 'I should be in this team,' he'd be saying to Wenger, 'I shouldn't be sub'. I just think he's lost that little bit of his mojo, but I think he'll get that back with Eddie Howe. I think he'll get a good run in the team."
Serge Gnabry joined Wilshere in leaving Arsenal on deadline day, securing a permanent move to Werder Bremen. Shkodran Mustafi was confirmed as the club's sixth addition of the summer in the twilight of the window and Merson has been impressed with the business conducted by the north Londoners.
"They could have done their deals a little bit earlier, but they're not bad," he added. "Shkodran Mustafi is a good player, and Granit Xhaka from Gladbach looks a decent midfielder too. There was a bit of panic towards the end but they did one thing they needed to and that's sign a centre-half. I'm not sure about Lucas Perez. He's been in Spain and their national team have been looking for a centre forward for a long time and he hasn't played."