Arsene Wenger has not ruled out the possibility of Jack Wilshere earning a new contract at Arsenal, although it just might be that he has to prove himself during another loan stint away from the club.
Wilshere has yet to agree an extension to his current deal which expires in June 2018 and speculation over his future has persisted all summer following a season-long loan spell at Bournemouth that was curtailed early by another lower leg fracture suffered during a 4-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur in April.
"If he gets back to his best and wants to stay, we have to sit down, I think, later in the season. I don't rule that out," Wenger told reporters during a press conference held prior to Arsenal's heavyweight Premier League clash with Liverpool on Sunday (27 August).
"You know how much I love Jack and his talent, I started him at the age of 17 but today in the football world you need to be a consistent presence. 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 hope he can manage to do that and after nobody questions his quality."
Wilshere has yet to make a first-team appearance for Arsenal so far this season, although he did make his return from the latest in a long line of injury blows with a 75-minute outing for the Under-23s in a Premier League 2 defeat of Derby County earlier this month.
He featured again for Steve Gatting's side against Manchester City on Monday evening (21 August), but appeared to harm his chances of a first-team recall with a second-half red card received for his role in an ugly brawl with Tyreke Wilson that followed a bad challenge from Matthew Smith.
Plenty of teams are said to be keen on Wilshere, who The Telegraph claim is valued by his current club at around the £20m ($25.6m) mark, including the likes of Newcastle United, West Ham United and Swansea City. Serie A outfit Sampdoria and Turkish club Antalyaspor are believed to have seen respective approaches rebuffed, while a stretch in the Championship could also be a possibility amid confirmed interest from Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce.
And while Wenger has previously stated an intention to keep the 25-year-old for the entire campaign, he now appears open to the prospect of him leaving again before the 31 August transfer deadline.
"I'm open, you know, with Jack. We have honest conversations and I'm open to what is the best for him," said Wenger, who described Wilshere's fiery antics against City as an understandable "human reaction" given his terrible injury history. "He is at the stage of his career where he needs to play and I can guarantee him today that, and I think I'm quite open on that."