Jack Wilshere says it would be “a dream come true” to return to Arsenal, but acknowledges it is unrealistic at present.
The former England midfielder has been a free agent since leaving West Ham United at the start of October, with a year still to run on his three-year deal with the club.
He is in Dubai currently, training at the NAS Sports Complex, as he bids to maintain his fitness if any club does agree a deal with him.
On Tuesday, the former England striker Darren Bent suggested Arsenal should resign Wilshere, who spent seven years with the London club’s academy, and then 10 years in the senior side before leaving in 2018.
Arsenal have gone more than seven hours without a goal in open play in the Premier League, and sit 12th in the table.
Bent believes Wilshere has “got that creativity” to help revive Mikel Arteta’s side, and that he would jump at a move to return because “I know how much he loves the club”.
“I’m not saying give him a normal contract, but on a pay-as-you-play, I’d take him back tomorrow,” Bent said on UK radio.
“He’s only 28, a pay-as-you-play deal makes sense.”
Wilshere says he feels he has unfinished business at Arsenal, but thinks “that ship has sailed”.
"Growing up I was a West Ham fan, but because I was in the [Arsenal] academy for so long, you lose that," Wilshere told The National.
“I wasn’t like a normal kid. I was very lucky to be in such a good academy, and I learnt to love Arsenal.
“It was my dream to play for Arsenal and win things with them. And I did.
“I don’t feel like I’ve completed my time there, but at the same time, I’m realistic enough to know the club has moved on, and they have different ideas.
“Obviously, it would be a dream come true, but I think that ship has sailed, and it is time to look at different things.”
Wilshere believes Arsenal already have a solution to their lack of creativity, in the form of their out-of-favour German playmaker Mesut Ozil.
“I don’t know what has gone on there, but when you look on, it is crying out for an Ozil-type player,” Wilshere said.
“Especially with the quality they have up front, with the likes of [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang and [Alexandre] Lacazette, players who would thrive of someone like that.
“I think Arteta knows what he is doing. He has a plan, and it is going to take some time and I think he will get there eventually.”