Arsene Wenger failed to insert a return clause in Jack Wilshere’s loan deal because he didn’t know he could.
Wenger was asked why he had failed to insert a clause in the Wilshere deal that would have enabled Arsenal to recall him from his spell at Bournemouth. His response was to say that season-long loan deals made that an impossibility.
Yet on Sunday it was announced that Chelsea had recalled Nathan Ake from his own season-long loan deal at Bournemouth, something that may have surprised Wenger.
Antonio Conte exercised the option to cut short Ake’s loan in order to provide Marcos Alonso with more meaningful competition at left wing-back.
Last week, Wenger admitted his regret at allowing Jack Wilshere to leave Arsenal on loan because he is left with few options in midfield.
“Yes, I could use him now,” Wenger said.
Asked why such a clause wasn't inlcuded, Wenger said Thursday: "It's season-long loans in the Premier League."
— Mattias Karén (@MattiasKaren) January 8, 2017
“But if he had not played until now, he would not be ready to play now. What looks unfair at some moments in the season is that you know at some stage you could need the player.
“But even at the start you need to have the right balance between competition and numbers and chances for the player to play. And still today I think it was the right decision for him to go.”
Wenger’s lack of knowledge of the loan rules will attract more criticism from supporters unimpressed with Arsenal’s current performances in central midfield. There is no option for Arsenal to recall Wilshere despite injuries ruling out Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla, while Mohamed Elneny is away on international duty with Egypt.