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08th Jan 2017

Chelsea recalling Nathan Ake exposes Arsene Wenger’s Jack Wilshere gaffe

Arsenal won't make that mistake again.

Tom Victor

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger was very clear when it came to the prospect of Jack Wilshere returning early to North London.

The England midfielder has spent the current campaign on loan at Bournemouth, racking up substantially more game-time than he has in the last two seasons, but injuries to Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla had some Gunners fans wondering if Wilshere might be recalled.

However, while Wenger acknowledged he could use the player in the light of the current injury situation, he said there was no prospect of the loan deal ending in January, saying  “[I think] it’s season-long loans in the Premier League”.

Wilshere has played almost as many games this season than in the last two combined (photo credit: Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)

No big deal, right? There’s every chance that Wenger only has a limited knowledge of the Premier League’s loan rules, and the prospect of a recall clause might never have arisen before.

Even if the loans themselves are season-long, not every club has the wherewithal to give itself a get-out if, for whatever reason, the player in question is required to return to the first team squad before the season is over.

Indeed, with Wenger’s noted optimism about the form and fitness of the other players at his disposal, he’s probably the last person who would have convinced himself that things might not go according to plan.

A situation where a break clause would need to be exercised? Impossible, with the quality at his disposal.

Cazorla is still some way off a return (photo credit: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Not so Chelsea and Antonio Conte.

The Blues currently have more than 30 players out on loan, so they know a thing or two about getting the most out of a temporary deal.

They frequently send multiple players on loan to the same club – Lewis Baker, Matt Miazga and Nathan are all currently at Vitesse in the Eredivisie – and will bring someone back if they are of more value at Stamford Bridge than at their current loan club.

Kenedy has returned from Watford after barely featuring under Walter Mazzarri, but it would be really awkward for Wenger if the Blues happened to be able to recall a player from a season-long loan at Bournemouth – the same type of deal, at the same club, as with Wilshere.


Conte has previously expressed how happy he has been to see Aké getting regular football on the South Coast, so the reasons for his return are unlikely to be the same as with his Brazilian teammate.

Indeed, it feels quite a bit like the sort of situation Arsenal could have done with setting up when they sent Wilshere on loan to Eddie Howe’s team.

The sort of thing Wenger didn’t seem to think was possible.

Oh well, you live and learn.