Of all the possible ins and outs during the final few days of the transfer window, a move for Jack Wilshere was right at the bottom of my list.
I fully expected to see a few of the youth team starlets go out on loans, and the departure of Serge Gnabry was also pretty par for the course.
In truth, even a loan spell for Alex Oxlade Chamberlain would have seemed more plausible and somewhat less surprising had it happened.
But, right there amid all the usual nonsense of deadline day, a move to Bournemouth for Jack was touted, arranged and completed in a remarkably short space of time, with the apparent consent of the club and the manager.
Whether Arsene was particularly pleased to let Jack go out for the season is another matter, and perhaps we will learn more about that when he finally faces the press again in the coming week or so.
In the meantime we all have to sit and wonder what the motivation was for such a move, especially from Jack’s point of view.
After a miserable few years with injury-after-injury, Jack at last managed to get a decent pre-season campaign under his belt, followed by a couple of substitute appearances in the last two Premier League fixtures at Leicester and Watford.
It’s not as if he had been sent to train with the kids in the Bastian Schweinsteiger fashion. Things were looking up for Jack.
Perhaps the performance of the team – and especially Granit Xhaka – in the win at Watford convinced him that he would need to move to get some playing time. Or maybe it was the omission from the England squad by new coach Sam Allardyce that factored into his thinking.
Whatever it was, clearly Jack felt he needed playing time and came to the conclusion that he was unlikely to get the minutes he needed at Arsenal.
If true, that seems a real surprise.
Better than anyone, Jack should know that the injury conveyor belt at Arsenal is such that a run in the first team is never really too far away. Sure, Arsenal are pretty well catered for in midfield at the moment but to simply assume that you won’t be able to force your way into the manager’s thinking is a little rash.
Surprising too, is the apparent unwillingness to stay and try and work a way into the first team. After all, who doesn’t want to feature in those big Champions League nights at the Emirates? Who really wants to swap the thrills and spills of fighting at the top end of the table for scrapping around in the lower reaches of the league?
I may be doing him a disservice, perhaps Arsene made it clear to him that a loan move was the only way he was going to be guaranteed regular football. Perhaps he asked to stay and fight and was told ‘no’, but I think that most unlikely.
A lot of people I have spoken to and a lot of the commentary I have read has largely been positive about the move, stressing the opportunity it will present for Jack to get a good run of games and force his way back into the England and Arsenal setups.
Personally, I’m undecided. It could well prove just the sort of boon that Jack needs to kick-start his re-emergence as one of the foremost talents in the England team, or it could signal the beginning of the end for his career at Arsenal.
The only thing that’s certain is that, should Arsenal suddenly accrue a slew of injuries in midfield, there’s going to be a whole lot of grumbling from those in the stands about just why we let Jack go.
For now, let’s wait and see.