Mikel Arteta makes final decision on Arsenal signing Jack Wilshere to fix midfield issues

Mikel Arteta on Arsenal's 'No More Red' campaign

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has played down suggestions the club could re-sign Jack Wilshere to ease their current midfield concerns. Wilshere is currently training at London Colney to build up his fitness after his AFC Bournemouth release last year.

But many have joked he could be in store for minutes in the new year amid a few immediate midfield issues in Arteta’s squad.

Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny could be absent for over a month whilst they represent Ghana and Egypt respectively at the African Cup on Nations.

Meanwhile, Arsenal have sent Ainsley Maitland-Niles to AS Roma on loan until the end of the season.

It leaves Albert Sambi Lokonga and Granit Xhaka as the only players accustomed to playing as holding midfielders – not ideal when Arteta’s preferred 4-2-3-1 system requires two.

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But one player who certainly won’t be slipping on an Arsenal shirt for the remainder of the season is Wilshere.

Arteta has ruled out offering the 30-year-old a playing contract, despite his presence in first-team training since October.

He told reporters: “I think I was very clear with the situation with Jack and the role he was going to have; we will continue in the same way.”

However, Arteta has confirmed Arsenal are actively looking to strengthen their ranks this month if a suitable opportunity arises.

“With the amount of things and the way we want to evolve the squad, we have to maximize every window in many different ways,” Arteta explained.

“We are alert. Edu and his team are working very hard because we know exactly what we need to do.

“Whether we can accomplish that in January or in the summer is a different question related to other stuff, but we are there.

“If it is the right player and we can afford it and we can do what we want to do, we will discuss it and make the best possible decision. We are open.”

Arteta will be sweating over his midfield situation, with fixtures in three different competitions coming thick and fast.

To make matters worse, Xhaka wasn’t pictured in training ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup Third Round trip to Nottingham Forest.

It could lead to more opportunities for teenage star Charlie Patino, who scored on his senior debut against Sunderland in the Carabao Cup last month.

But given his current lack of options, it wouldn’t be surprising if Arteta got his head together with Edu to pursue reinforcements before the January 31 deadline.

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