Arsene Wenger believes that Jack Wilshere will remain at Arsenal amid suggestions of new interest from Serie A outfit Sampdoria, but has warned that the injury-plagued midfielder will have to work hard in order to win back a place in the first team.
Wilshere has entered the final 12 months of his current contract at the Emirates Stadium and is yet to be offered an extension following a season-long loan stint at Bournemouth was curtailed in April, leading many to presume he would be offloaded this summer as the Gunners look to avoid losing him for nothing in 2018.
Sky Italy reported on Thursday (13 July) that Sampdoria had emerged as a surprise next destination for the 34-cap England international, with Arsenal said to have set an asking price of just £9m ($11.7m).
Wenger has never closed the door on Wilshere, who did not travel with his teammates for their pre-season tour of Australia and China as he continues his rehabilitation, lamenting his decision to allow him to leave on loan earlier this year with Santi Cazorla, Mohamed Elneny and Francis Coquelin all unavailable. He has also insisted that contract talks would not be affected by that latest fitness blow.
Addressing the situation again during an interview with The Mirror, the manager said: "I think Jack will be with Arsenal next season, yes. I will give you a very focused answer on that, that he has to work hard to come back and fight for a place in the team. But once he is ready, when he comes back, he will not be far from practising with the team."
Wilshere made 29 Premier League appearances for Bournemouth before being ruled out for the remainder of the 2016-17 campaign with a fractured left fibula suffered during a 4-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur.
Eddie Howe immediately cast serious doubt upon the prospect of the player returning to the south coast for another spell, while chief suitors West Ham United appear to be prioritising additions in other areas with co-chairman David Gold stressing the desperate need for a pair of new strikers and goalkeeper Joe Hart on the verge of completing a season-long loan move from Manchester City.
Slaven Bilic has previously stated his admiration of Wilshere's abilities and it was suggested the Hammers could table an offer worth £30m in order to sign a player who was reportedly sent to Dubai in May in order to complete a warm-weather training programme.