It's hard, and fairly sad, to believe that Jack Wilshere is just 28 years old.
Bags of potential and technical ability combined with a shot at Arsenal meant the Englishman was destined for the top. While a few disciplinary issues plagued his early years, it's the constant ankle and groin injuries that have ravaged his career and left him in limbo.
He signed for West Ham on a free transfer in 2018, but after just 19 appearances in two years, he now finds himself without a club in the pool of the free agents. Many assumed that this was again through injury, but a statement from Wilshere himself has confirmed that he's been fit and available for eight months but hasn't managed to break into David Moyes' plans.
If he's fit and ready to hit the ground running, Wilshere on a free transfer could be key to a club's good fortunes. He needs that gamble just as much as a club might, and at 28, he's entering his best years.
Here's who should be eyeing up the Englishman on a free...
Injuries affected a season-long loan spell with Bournemouth in 2016/17 - obviously - but when he played, Wilshere was a bright spark for the Cherries.
He won the club's player of the month awards in November and December 2016 and would be a shrewd piece of business for them once again. It would mean Wilshere has to drop down to the second tier of English football, but it might well be a risk worth taking for both parties.
Let's face it, on his day, his abilities would allow him to take the Championship by storm.
2. West Brom
It's been a bit murky for West Brom since they returned to the Premier League.
Snapping up Grady Diangana from West Ham was excellent business; signing a 36-year-old Branislav Ivanovic was one of the weirdest deals of the window.
They could do with a creative spark in midfield to link their attack and defence together, and someone to look towards when the chips are down. It would be a tough ask for Wilshere and being relegated could hurt his confidence, but if he keeps them up, he'd look a million dollars.
Wilshere heading to Serie A at some point in his career has to happen. Surely.
Former Gunners teammate Aaron Ramsey made the jump joining Juventus, although Wilshere would likely have to come in at a lower level. Speculation has linked Genoa with a move for him, but he could cut the mustard at a club like Roma.
Roma could do with a technical midfielder with the experience of Wilshere, and the slower pace would likely suit his game more, especially after so many continuous injuries.
4. Inter Miami
If it's not Serie A, then it's MLS, no?
The Italian top flight isn't quite the retirement home it once was and should Wilshere fancy something slightly easier but also completely different, MLS would take him in a heartbeat.
The American top flight is also on the up, but the 34 times-capped England international would still walk into every team. Inter Miami are a new franchise and despite the signings of Gonzalo Higuain and Blaise Matuidi, they could do with one or two more touches of elite quality and experience among the squad.
Wilshere, though, could be at a walking pace and still be one of the best midfielders in the league. Perfect with his injury record.
This one's for the streets.
Sure, Arsenal signing Thomas Partey means this one is even more unlikely than it already was, but Gunners fans want it deep down. The prodigal son returning after a misguided few years, older, wiser, fitter and into his peak.
He wouldn't hold the same expectation as he did in his first spell and thus would have more room to play his game with less pressure. A fully fit Wilshere linking play together in a progressive Mikel Arteta side would be the stuff of dreams. It's probably not going to happen, but my word it should.
Come on Mikel, do it for the culture.
Source : 90min