Two-time FA Cup winner says Aston Villa transfer nearly missed
Jack Wilshere has told talkSPORT that former Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce attempted to sign Arsenal midfielder for the Birmingham outfit during the summer 2017 transfer window.
Villa had finished the previous season 13th in the championship standings in Bruce’s first campaign at the helm. The current Newcastle United coach replaced Roberto Di Matteo in charge of the Villans at the start of the campaign as they sought an immediate return to the top flight.
Bruce apparently viewed Wilshere as a piece of the puzzle that could send Aston Villa back to the Premier League. The Englishman had returned to Emirates Stadium to face an uncertain future after a season-long loan spell with Bournemouth.
Wilshere had played regularly in the two-time FA Cup winner with Arsenal’s time on the south coast. But rather than join Bruce at Villa to get regular minutes again, he stayed in North London to fight for the odds.
Bruce left a big impression on Wilshere during his attempts to convince the 29-year-old to join Aston Villa in 2017. The now free agent always praising the manager’s credentials.
“I never worked with him, [but] I’ve played with players who have played for him and have nothing but good things to say about him, ”said Wilshere. “I actually spoke to him once one summer when he was at Villa, he wanted to take me there.
“It was when I came back from Bournemouth, and I wasn’t in Arsenal’s squad, and he wanted to take me there. He was brilliant. It was a ten minute phone call, and I I hung up thinking, “Wow, this guy knows soccer.” He’s a soccer man.
Did Wilshere’s move almost miss a blessing for Aston Villa?
Aston Villa improved, even without Wilshere, under Bruce in 2017/18 to finish the season fourth in the Championship standings. But they would lose at Wembley in the play-off final as Fulham made them worse at another year of second-tier football.
Wilshere, meanwhile, spent his final year at Arsenal making 38 appearances, up from 29 in all competitions. But only 12 starts and 20 outings have come in the Premier League, before the Gunners release their academy product.
He then joined West Ham United, but his stint in burgundy and blue ended early when they terminated his contract last year. According to ESPN, the Hammers have mutually torn up the last 12 months of a £ 100,000-a-week contract after deeming it to be in excess of need.
Wilshere’s career has not recovered since, with a six-month return to Bournemouth in January ending in a release. Meanwhile, Aston Villa secured a promotion as play-off winner under Dean Smith in 2018/19 and finished last season in 11th place in the best ranking.