Arsenal are reportedly set to begin negotiations with Jack Wilshere over a new contract in the coming weeks, in a bid to avoid losing him for free in the summer.
The 25-year-old will be a free agent at the end of the season and will therefore be allowed to talk to foreign clubs from 1 January, which leaves the Gunners only a couple a months to tie him down to a new deal.
According to the Daily Mail, the club will meet the player's representatives and must make significant progress before the end of next month, or else Wilshere could walk away for free at the end of the season.
With Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil both set to leave the Emirates as free agents at the end of the current campaign after turning down new deals, Arsenal can't afford to allow another player to run his contract down.
Wilshere has been at the club since he was nine but he has only played 72 games for club and country since 2014 and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said the midfielder would have until December to prove he can stay fit.
The Stevenage-born playmaker has started only three games in all competitions this season but returned to Premier League action against Everton on Sunday (22 October), playing the last 13 minutes in the Gunners' 5-2 win at Goodison Park.
Wenger believes Wilshere wants to remain at the club and has made it clear that he wishes that the midfielder fulfils his potential at the Emirates rather than at another club. The midfielder himself is adamant that he still considers himself an Arsenal player through and through but last month revealed he was in no real hurry to put pen to paper.
"Do I see myself staying? Of course, I do. I have always been at Arsenal. I love this club," Wilshere was quoted as saying by the London Evening Standard.
"They have been good to me over the years. Me and the boss have a great relationship. He played me since I was 17. He put his trust in me since then, so we have a great understanding. We are in contact all the time and I want to stay."
During the summer, Wilshere attracted interest from Newcastle United, Swansea, West Ham United, Turkish clubs Antalyaspor and Trabzonspor and Serie A outfit Sampdoria. However, Arsenal did not receive an offer that matched their demands, largely as most enquiries were about a loan deal rather than a permanent move instead.
According to the Mail, however, should he prove his fitness over the coming months, Chelsea and Manchester City could also be among the potential suitors, as he would help boost their quota of home-grown players in European matches.
Gareth Southgate will also hope the 25-year-old, who is in line to start Arsenal's clash against Norwich City in the League Cup on Tuesday (24 October), can return to full fitness as he would bring a welcome injection of flair to England's pedestrian midfield.
The Three Lions face Germany and Brazil in glamorous friendlies at Wembley next month and Wilshere could be a surprise inclusion if he stays fit.