When I read that there is a case to be made for making Jack Wilshere our 'Defensive Midfielder' my initial reaction was, 'hmmm yeah that could plausibly work.' He has the passing range; he has that burst of acceleration that could help with the transition from defence to attack; he played very deep and very well against Barcelona. If we didn't buy another midfielder maybe it wouldn't be the worst idea.
But then I snapped out of it - I saw the light.
I searched into the depths of my brain and I looked back over the last few years to see how things panned out when we decided to opt for internal, creative solutions to solve flaws within our squad - we've done it enough times over the last few years. Some of these examples were quite challenging to fully remember as I'm fairly sure over the years I have tried my upmost to extinguish them from my memory. And yet, like an injury that after a few years you forget what its cause was, certain scars remain and those alone are enough to fuel your recollection.
So here are some times that Wenger has elected to ignore the transfer market, and 'recruit from within.' And it hasn't been a fairy-tail ending.
Denilson as a DM
We needed a DM - So badly. We had a team where Fabregas was given infinite freedom, and yet we had nobody in midfield to do his dirty work.
Rather than buy Alonso, up stepped Denilson, called upon by Wenger.
Needless to say the experiment failed horribly. If you ever used player cam on Sky Sports for Denilson you would fall asleep from extreme boredom due to his wholly limited and ineffective game. His expertise primarily lied in passing back to Almunia or failing to tackle properly. He was awful and yet at the time I remember Arsenal fans thinking it was a good idea to play him on that position. It evidently wasn't.
Eboue at RW
We had just signed Sagna, who slotted into our team as if he had been playing with us since the days of Steve Bould. We also had Eboue who, prior to Sagna's arrival, was a more than competent RB.
So we had an abundance of RBs coupled with limited options out wide. Wenger's solution was to deploy Eboue as a RW.
Hey, he could run fast, go on then. No, DON'T GO ON THEN. He didn't have any attributes of a winger. It meant that going forward we were painfully one-dimensional and the whole episode actually ruined what was a quite unique relationship between Eboue and the fans. Eboue later spent so long away from the team that I hear he started taking Korean speaking lessons.
Arshavin as a CF/Winger
The diminutive Russian came to us as a specialist number 10. He blew our minds at the Euros in that position. Arsenal fans were salivating after his signing. SALIVATING. However injuries to Van Persie and our limited personnel across the front line meant that Andrey was played as a number 9 at times. It wasn't his best position, and it was often futile playing him there as he rarely got into the game leading to his staggeringly fast drop on confidence. Arshavin forever looked like a number 10 being played out of position. A similar fate could await young Jack.
Stick to playing players in their position
If we elect to avoid spending on a midfielder this transfer window, we will regret it - I have no doubts. Our overwhelming issue over the last few years has been a lack of power and strength in midfield. Jack may be able to pass well and keep the game ticking, spraying balls across the pitch. He has the potential to be a wonderful player. However he has no power in his skill set - he doesn't possess the raw physicality that we are crying out for.
People say Pirlo is one of the best holding players in the world and that Jack could emulate that. Firstly Jack is no Pirlo. He doesn't have long, Italian crafted hair and a beard that has been sculpted by the hands of God. And secondly, Pirlo is always partnered with a physical and tenacious player next to him. At Arsenal, Wilshere wouldn't have this type of player - Which is why such player needs to be bought.
We are a club that gives young players a chance - we pride ourselves on that notion and rightly so. But similarly, Wenger needs to appreciate that 'recruiting from within' isn't always a success story and it often results in stunting player development. The examples above are overwhelming demonstrations of the strategy leading to huge gaps in our squad. And when everyone around us in the league is looking so strong, even the smallest gap will lead to us falling away this season.
Wilshere should be used this season, but only in his best position because that's where he will flourish.
Let's hope that we show the ambition off of the pitch and sign a powerful midfielder, so that we can play with ambition on it. Playing jack as our new DM does not equate to that ambition.... and it is that ambition that wins you trophies.