Wenger explains why he allowed Jack Wilshere to leave Arsenal
Arsene Wenger insists he will offer Jack Wilshere a new deal at Arsenal because he believes he still has a future at the club, not so he can be sold for a profit.
The Frenchman revealed on Friday morning that he will push for an extension to Wilshere's contract in the new year, with his current agreement set to expire in 2018.
Wilshere, 24, is currently on loan at Bournemouth after moving to the south coast in the summer in a bid to play more football and return to fitness following two years spent largely in the treatment room.
He came off the substitutes' bench for Arsenal against Liverpool and Watford before heading to Bournemouth on August 31.
Since then he has flourished with the Cherries and earned a recall into the England squad for the recent double-header against Scotland and Spain, although he is ineligible for Bournemouth's clash against his parent club at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
Despite being away from the club, Wenger still intends to offer Wilshere a new deal and that is because he reckons the player will be back for next season, rather than to protect Arsenal's investment in one of their most successful academy graduates.
Asked if he would be offering the extension because he believes in Wilshere's ability to establish himself with the Gunners, Wenger replied: "Yes, not to protect our value.
"I let him go this season because we bought Granit Xhaka, we have Mohamed Elneny, Aaron Ramsey, and I thought if he doesn't play regularly and wasn't fit enough to be in the position to start games...so I let him go.
"After, we see how he goes at the end of the season. If Jack comes back to his right level he will play for us.
"My feeling is I want him back. He always said he is an Arsenal man. If you only think about yourself then you go where you like to be. The word 'loyalty' isn't even the right word. He always said he was an Arsenal man."
When questioned why Wilshere was not handed a longer deal before his temporary move to Bournemouth, Wenger added: "It was a human case, more than a calculated financial case.
"He's been educated here since he was eight or nine years old, he has gone for years through difficult periods where he didn't play and you look at the number of games he played in the last two years before he left us...
"I felt honestly a guy who has been educated here has another season where he doesn't play because I don't give him the chance, because I have some players who are fitter than him, it would be unfair. It was not a mathematical decision."
Wenger pointed to Wilshere's exclusion from Sam Allardyce's England squad at the start of the season as a catalyst for the player asking to leave on loan.
Now the 67-year-old has called on Wilshere to show his loyalty to Arsenal, comparing him to recently-retired former England and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard as an example.
Wenger said: "When he saw the number of midfielders we have, he came to that conclusion. He asked me: 'what do you think?'.
"I told him I can't guarantee him the position. He says himself the trigger was not being picked by England.
"It's difficult for me too to see an English national team player not to be picked any more. I think it's a good compromise. He can show his loyalty, like Steven Gerrard, after.
"I think (Gerrard) had the qualities that every midfielder dreams to have. He could score goals, he could cross the field, he could shoot from distance, he could cross the ball, he could dribble, he had pace, he had commitment, motivation.
"He was a massive player, Steven Gerrard. And on top of that, he was loyal to Liverpool. So that's as well a quality that you don't find a lot nowadays."
Wenger also warned other Arsenal players who find themselves on the fringes of the first team that they will not necessarily be given the same opportunity as Wilshere.
Asked if others may look to follow his example and leave on loan, Wenger replied: "Yes, but Jack is a special case because he came back from two years with no competition.
"With a normal guy, who is fit, if over time he is trouble, he wants to go somewhere, he won't go far. You have to compete.
"It's not a lack of wanting to compete with Jack, it's just to give him a chance to come back to his best level."