Jack Wilshere is considered to be a £100 million ($127m) player by Manuel Pellegrini, but the West Ham boss acknowledges that a “risk” has been taken on the injury-prone former Arsenal star.
A scramble for the England international’s signature was sparked over the summer as he departed Emirates Stadium as a free agent.
In the end, a short trip was made across London as the 26-year-old midfielder traded the Gunners for the Hammers.
He was considered to be quite a coup, but fitness issues have followed him from the north of the English capital to the East End.
“Jack is just 26 and has the quality to play in the national team,” Pellegrini told reporters ahead of West Ham’s Premier League clash with Cardiff on Tuesday.
“In football, the most important thing is the quality. That, you cannot buy. You either have it or you don’t.
“After that, there are a lot of different things that you must add to your quality. We are talking about fitness, not having so many injuries. But I’m sure it is in his mind to return to the national squad.”
Pellegrini added on the decision to sign Wilshere and his potential value to the Hammers cause: “We knew that Jack was a risk but if you review his last season [on loan] at Bournemouth he played around 65 per cent of the games.
“We knew before that he was not a player who would be available for every game every week. But also that he is a player of a quality that is not easy to bring to West Ham at a price we could afford.
“Maybe players of the quality of Wilshere at this moment can cost £100 million, £90 million, £70 million — good creative midfielders are very expensive.
“He wanted to play at West Ham, we took the risk and it has not been a good month for him but we have the second part of the season and I hope he will play most of the games.”
Wilshere opened the 2018-19 campaign with four appearances for West Ham, but was laid low after an outing against Wolves on September 1.
He was not seen again for three months after requiring ankle surgery, with a return to action made off the bench late on in Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Newcastle.