Cape Town - Midfielder Jack Wilshere announced that he will leave Premier League outfit Arsenal when his contract expires at the end of June.
Wilshere decided to part ways with his
boyhood club after new manager Unai Emery told him he would not be a first team
The 26-year academy product said he was
informed that his game time would be "significantly reduced" during a
meeting with the Spaniard, and therefore decided to leave when his contract is
up on July 1.
He said that he had agreed to sign a
reduced contract in order to stay at the club but needs to be playing regular
"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,”
he wrote on Instagram.
"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
“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 with the
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
Wilshere, who has made 197 appearances and
scored 14 goals in all competitions for the Gunners, has been linked with
several clubs in recent weeks, including Premier League clubs Fulham, Crystal
Palace, West Ham, Everton and Wolves, while Serie A clubs Juventus, Sampdoria
and AC Milan are also said to be interested.
Arsenal paid tribute to Wilshere on social
"Everyone at Arsenal would like to
wish Jack Wilshere a successful future following his decision to seek new
opportunities," a statement read. "Thank you, Jack, for your
contribution and the fantastic memories. Good luck in the future."