Jack Wilshere has confirmed that he will leave Arsenal when his contract ends in 13 days time.
The 26-year-old revealed that he’s been in extensive and ongoing talks with the club about staying at the Emirates but has made his decision for football rather than financial reasons after talks with new coach Unai Emery.
In a statement on Instagram, the England international wrote: “I can confirm that I will be leaving Arsenal Football Club when my contract expires at the end of June.
“Following a number of extensive conversations with those at the club, and in particular a recent meeting with the new manager, Unai Emery, I felt that I was ultimately left with little choice but to make the decision that I have due to purely footballing reasons.
“As has widely been reported I, along with my representative, have been in talks with the club for a number of months with the view to signing a new contract to extend my stay at the Emirates.
“My intention throughout these discussions has always been to remain an Arsenal player. I have been on the books at Arsenal for 17 years and have always felt part of the fabric of the club. Such was my desire to stay that I had in fact recently agreed to sign a financially reduced contract in order to commit my future to the club.
“However, following my meeting with the new manager I was made aware that, although the reduced contract offer remained, it was made clear to me that my playing time would be significantly reduced should I decide to stay.
“I am sure everyone can understand that at this point in my life and career I need to be playing regular first team football and following my meeting with Mr Emery I came away feeling that it would be very difficult for me to do so at Arsenal.
“Given this, I feel I have no option but to pursue other opportunities in order to progress my career on the pitch.
“I’m feeling fit, sharp and strong and will be working tirelessly to ensure I am in peak condition ahead of the new season. I’ll now be taking the time necessary to consider my options before deciding on the next stage of my career.
“I would like to place on record my respect for Mr Emery and my appreciation for his honesty and candor, and I wish him, the team and the club all the very best for the future.”
So that’s that. Wilshere, who joined Arsenal as a 9-year-old, has played his last game for the club.
It’s a sad day for him and for those fans who saw him take the Premier League as a 16-year-old. We’ve lamented the impact of bad injuries on players so often recently – Tomas Rosicky, Abou Diaby, Santi Cazorla to name but a few – and the same regrets stand for Jack.
Fingers crossed he can stay injury free in the future, we, like Arsenal, wish him all the best.
It remains to be seen who he signs for, but he won’t be short of suitors. The likes of Crystal Palace, West Ham, Southampton, Everton and Juventus have all been linked.