30 July 2017

Arsenal’s risk-averse Jack Wilshere could learn from RB Leipzig’s adventurous Oliver Burke

ARSENAL midfielder Jack Wilshere wants to stay close to London if he leaves the Emirates this summer, with his preferred move being to West Ham.

The 25-year-old has already turned down switches to Sampdoria in Italy and Turkish side Antalyaspor.

Wilshere has been training with Arsenal but was not in their Emirates Cup squad
Getty – Contributor
Oliver Burke gives Benfica’s Lisandro a tough time in the Emirates Cup

So the sight of RB Leipzig’s Scottish forward Oliver Burke playing in North London – a Brit taking his chances abroad – was a stark contrast to the Englishman’s risk aversion.

The 20-year-old’s a surprise £13 million move from Nottingham Forest to newly promoted Leipzig last summer raised plenty of eyebrows.

Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal were all closely monitoring his progress.

So far the move to Germany has not worked out as hoped for the Scottish international, as Leipzig look to convert the winger into a striker.

He made 25 appearances, 20 from the bench, and scored just one goal in his first year in Leipzig.

There is talk of Burke going out on loan, but boss Ralph Hasenhuttl will not be letting the forward leave with a Champions League campaign on the horizon.

Burke caught the eye with his lung-busting runs at the Benfica defence
PA:Press Association

The youngster started against Benfica on Sunday in the Emirates Cup – another chance to impress Hasenhuttl.

Wilshere, meanwhile, was left out of Arsene Wenger’s squad for the pre-season tournament.

Leipzig are a well-run outfit and plenty of research and thought will have gone into their purchase from the Championship last year.

Burke does not possess the blistering pace of Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, but he is not afraid of running in behind defences.

Burke played 25 times for RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga last season
Getty – Contributor

He showed early on he is prepared to chase lost causes and his pace caused Benfica defender Lisandro problems.

The Argentine was lucky not to concede a penalty when the Scot latched onto a ball over the top, drove into the box and went down under a challenge from the defender.

Burke’s big moment came just before half-time when he raced through on goal from the right.

He did the right thing by shooting across the keeper, but his effort and follow-up were smartly saved.

Former Arsenal trainee Chris Willock, right, was also in action in the Emirates Cup

To emphasise the Wilshere point, Arsenal academy product Chris Willock – who joined Benfica on a free transfer this summer – came on for the Portuguese side.

Burke failed to get among the goals in the 2-0 win over the Portuguese side but his all-round display impressed.

As for Wilshere, his future is unclear, but if the moves abroad for Burke and Willock do not work out, at least they can say they gave it a try.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger talks about Alexis Sanchez's return and Arsenal's pre-season
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