Steve Parish, the chairman of Crystal Palace, has bemoaned missing out on the opportunity to bring Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere to Selhurst Park for a season-long loan.
It was only in the dying days of the transfer window that Wilshere, who having had an impressive start to his early career at Arsenal has recently been plagued by injuries and found regular playing time hard to come by, became available for loan.
Understandably, a range of clubs were interested in securing his services and AS Roma, AC Milan, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace were just some of the clubs being mentioned on transfer deadline day.
Whilst Palace appeared to be the early favourites to secure his signature in a two-horse race between themselves and Bournemouth, the pendulum swung the other way as the transfer deadline grew ever closer with the player opting for the latter possibly due to the influence of close friend and former Gunner Benik Afobe, as explained by an unnamed club source in the Daily Star.
“We were not confident of getting Jack until Benik stepped in and told him this was the place for him. The two of them are still good friends from Benik’s Arsenal days so that was our trump card. Benik told him he would like our style of play and that the manager would get the best out of him.”
In an interview with Holmesdale Radio, Parish admitted that the whole attempt to try and loan Wilshere seemed “a bit like Haley’s Comet – it arrived as fast as it went”.
“We were contacted and asked, ‘would we be interested?’ We said yes and threw our hat in the ring but the player decided to go to Bournemouth, I think one of his best mates plays there.”
“He’s a very, very good player – that’s the level of player we are trying to bring to the club. You can’t win them all.”
Although Palace lost out this time round, supporters must find some solace in the fact that its management and administration are trying to bring talent of the calibre as Wilshere, particularly in the middle of the park.
Dom Dickinson, Pundit Arena