Arsene Wenger still plans to offer Jack Wilshere a new Arsenal deal, despite taking a hands-off approach with his on-loan midfielder.
Wenger sanctioned Wilshere’s season-long loan to Bournemouth back in August but made it clear at the time he wanted the player to end up at Arsenal for life.
Wilshere has since featured in every Premier League game, a run that will end this Sunday as loan rules mean he is ineligible to face his parent club at the Emirates.
And his injury-free run has encouraged Wenger, who is happy to leave the 24-year-old in the care of Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe for the time being.
Asked whether a new contract is on the table for Wilshere, whose current deal is up in 2018, the Gunners boss said: “Of course. Ideally [it will be addressed before next summer]. We have to plan around the new year.
“I ask every week how did he play but I haven’t spoken to him. I leave him to talk to his manager. When I can watch him, I do watch him.
“I am happy that he is developing well. It was a good decision for him to go to get regular football. He is getting stronger every week and that is exactly what he needed. When a player like Jack is in top form, you miss him.”
Any new deal would be for football reasons and “not to protect our value”, according to Wenger, who said: “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.”
Wilshere said in October his time at Bournemouth had made him reassess his long-term future and admitted this week: “At the minute I’m a Bournemouth player so I want Bournemouth to win [on Sunday].”