This blog like many other Liverpool FC based ones, will be full of material on Philippe Coutinho. Even after his departure from The Reds, fans cannot stop talking about him. Whether it be reminiscing about his talent or spite over his well-publicised move to the European giants Barcelona. Increasing in the discussion is the glaring question: ‘who do we replace Coutinho with?’ Whilst the masses would suggest an early move for Naby Keita or the likes of German Julian Draxler, the search should begin a bit closer to home.
My search began alphabetically with Arsenal, and stopped with Jack Wilshere. An explosive burst back onto the Premier League scene has got everyone talking about Jack Wilshere once again. His all-round ability as a midfielder is something that his club and country have lacked consistently over the past however many years.
Now Coutinho and Wilshere are two different players (physically) but their styles of play don’t differ too greatly. Both like to run at defences with the ball at their feet, and both can pick out an attacking pass which can unlock a defence. But we need to address the elephant in the six-yard box, Wilshere isn’t regarded as a goal-scoring midfielder whilst Coutinho is, but will his goals be missed that much?
Upon reading an interesting article in The Guardian by Sean Ingle titled ‘Why Liverpool might not miss Philippe Coutinho as much as people think’, he goes into statistical detail about Coutinho compared to other top players in Europe’s top 5 leagues. The Brazilian ranked 31st for goals and assists per 90 minutes with a score of 0.88, and 22nd for chances created per game with a score of 2.81. Respectable scores nonetheless, but they are not stand-out, world-beating scores to agree with Mr Ingle.
So would a move for Wilshere beyond the realms of possibility? Reports suggest that the midfielder is close to signing a new long-term contract with boyhood club Arsenal, whilst others claim that Wenger has told him he needs to take a wage-cut to stay at The Emirates. And like his departing team mate Alexis Sanchez, Wilshere is too out of contract at the end of the season.
Frustration surrounding Jack Wilshere is mutual, 118 appearances in an injury-stricken 10 years at Arsenal is one of The Premier League’s biggest disappointments to date. But as a fan of both Liverpool and Wilshere, I would love to see Klopp bring him to Anfield this January, but more realistically on a free this summer.