Jack Wilshere has confirmed he is leaving Arsenal at the end of this month when his current contract with the club expires. The midfielder who has been on the books of the north London club since he was nine announced his decision on social media after a meeting with Unai Emery, the club’s new manager.
The 26-year-old met with Emery and claims his “playing time would be significantly reduced” under the new boss.
“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,” Wilshere wrote on Instagram.
“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.”
Wilshere made 197 appearances for Arsenal, including 38 last season in what was his best tally since 2013/14 in what has been an injury-ravaged period.
The midfielder was left out of Gareth Southgate’s England party to the ongoing World Cup in Russia. Everton, Juventus and Besiktas have been linked with Wilshere in the past but Wilshere is keeping mum about his next destination.
“I’m feeling fit, sharp and strong and will be working tirelessly to ensure I am in peak condition ahead of the new season,” he continued. “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 [sic], and I wish him, the team and the club all the very best for the future.”
Wilshere became Arsenal’s youngest-ever player when he made his debut aged 16 and 256 days in a Premier League win over Blackburn Rovers in 2008. He was named PFA Young Player of the Year in 2010/11 and also earned a place in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year that season.
Wilshere singled out Arsène Wenger for praise and thanked “everyone at the academy for helping me to fulfil my dream and of course the fans, who I have always shared such a special relationship with.”
Arsenal also released a statement: “Everyone at Arsenal would like to wish Jack Wilshere a successful future following his decision to seek new opportunities. Since joining our Academy more than 17 years ago aged just nine Jack has been a tremendous player for the club and a much-loved member of the Arsenal family. Thank you Jack for your contribution and the fantastic memories. Good luck in the future.”