When the season began, both Chelsea and Arsenal chose to loan young midfielders out to Bournemouth. Both Nathan Ake and Jack Wilshere have found regular playing time for the Cherries and have improved under the watchful eye of Eddie Howe. Unfortunately for the Gunners, only the Blues had the foresight to make sure they could bring their player back in January.
That’s exactly what reports from England claim Chelsea intend to do. Antonio Conte has been impressed with Ake’s form this season and sees a role for him at Stamford Bridge. The wild-haired midfielder will be leaving the Cherries in the coming days.
While that’s bad news for Howe’s club, it’s a sign of Chelsea’s savvy on the loan market. The knew that Bournemouth were in no position to quibble over the inclusion of a January return clause. They needed talent, and Ake fit the bill. You can bet that Bournemouth didn’t think twice about Chelsea’s insistence that they be allowed to cut the loan short.
While Ake will be heading back to his parent club in January, Jack Wilshere will remain with the Cherries until the end of the season. It’s not that Arsenal don’t want him back. In fact, Gunner manager Arsene Wenger has openly admitted how beneficial WIlshere’s presence would be in his squad at the moment.
Arsenal deserve criticism for their failure to protect themselves against a season long loan for Wilshere. Bournemouth certainly would have accepted such a clause in his contract. It might have required Arsenal to pick up a little bit of WIlshere’s wage bill, but they certainly could have gotten the deal done.
Instead, Wenger and company failed to make the right move. They sent Wilshere off to Bournemouth for the entire season, no questions asked. The club never accounted for the possibility of needing Wilshere back at Arsenal this season. Now they are paying for their oversight.
It may seem like a relatively minor difference, but these are the small details that separate clubs from Premier League titles and finishing fourth in the table. Perhaps Arsenal should learn a thing or two from Chelsea if they want to catch them in the standings.