Ahead of Arsenal's must-win meeting with Crystal Palace, Arsene Wenger revealed that the only potential stumbling block in the club's talks with Jack Wilshere over a contract extension could be the money on offer.
"We will sit down with him," the Gunners manager explained. "I believe if he can meet a point of agreement financially, he will want to stay."
On Thursday, Wilshere significantly strengthened his bargaining position with an imperious display in the middle of the park, as Arsenal claimed a crucial 3-2 win that moved them to within a point of fourth-placed Liverpool in the Premier League standings.
Alexis Sanchez may have struck twice but it was Wilshere who was central to everything positive that Arsenal did on a freezing cold night at Selhurst Park.
The academy product, who will turn 26 on New Year's Day, recorded the best passing accuracy percentage of any starter (93.8 per cent), won as many fouls (7) as the entire Palace side combined, while no player regained possession more times (11).
The arguments for keeping Wilshere are usually echoed across social media after every game he’s involved in: he’s an Arsenal boy, a homegrown talent who always works tirelessly’ no matter the opposition.
Wilshere’s main problem over the years, though, has been getting fit and maintaining a run of games at the top level. His loan spell at Bournemouth last season was a sign of the player stepping out his comfort zone to salvage his career – and it’s clear that he’s now desperate to stay at the club he has been at since the age of nine.
Indeed, as he enthused afterwards, "I was happy with my form last year. But I'm probably playing better now. I feel fitter and I am enjoying my football."
That was plain to see at Palace. As Wenger marked his 810th Premier League match in charge of the Gunners – moving him level with Sir Alex Ferguson – Wilshere sent a reminder to the Frenchman that he is worth keeping whatever the cost.
The midfielder offers an incisive presence in the final third and can retain the ball with such ease that it gives Arsenal more assurance in the central areas. Indeed, against Palace the main problem appeared to be taking chances until Alexis turned it on in the second half.
Unsurprisingly, Wilshere played his part, providing a sublime through-ball that the Chilean deftly controlled and finished to put Arsenal 3-1 to the good. "It was a great assist," Wenger purred afterwards.
Arsenal’s defensive frailties have been on show all season yet only Manchester United have kept more clean sheets then Wenger’s men this season. If they could cut out their sloppy defensive errors and take more of their chances, then they would certainly have been involved in this season's title race.
Unfortunately for the north Londoners, they still don’t have a preferred formation, with Wenger flip-flopping between playing three and four defenders at the back this season, while the uncertainty surrounding their three best players – Alexis, Wilshere and Mesut Ozil – is hardly stabilising.
Still, while the defensive issues can be worked on, it seems increasingly obvious that Alexis and Ozil have their hearts set on moves elsewhere. Wilshere, though, wants to stay and Arsenal should do everything they can to keep him.
He offers more than just sublime technique and that is one of the main reasons you can hear ‘Super Jacky Wilshere’ sung among the Arsenal supporters in every match he features in.
"He had a great performance," Wenger enthused after the game at Selhurst Park, "and that shows that Jack is coming back to form."
And that he's worth a new, improved pay packet. Over to you, Arsene...