Jack Wilshere has announced he is leaving Arsenal after 17 years.
The England midfielder has agreed a new deal on reduced terms with the Gunners, but has been forced to look for a new club, after speaking with new manager Unai Emery.
In an Instagram post on Tuesday night, Wilshere wrote a lengthy message explaining why he is moving on.
“I can confirm that I will be leaving Arsenal 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 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 a view to signing a new contract to extend my stay at the Emirartes.
“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 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 have experienced some incredible times at Arsenal and have met friends that will last a lifetime. I leave with memories that will stay with me forever from my time at the club. From making my debut at such a young age, to playing in the Champions League and of course winning two FA Cups in consecutive seasons, there are just too many highlights to mention.
“There will be the opportunity to talk properly when the time is right but for now I would just like to thank everyone at the club for everything over the past 17 years, in particular Arsene Wenger and his staff, all of my teammates over the years, 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.
“I will never be able to truly repay the love, faith and belief that the fans have always shown in me. It’s meant so much to me and my family over the years and I hope you are able to celebrate the success you deserve in the coming years. Thank you.
“I would like to place on record my respect for Mr Emery and my appreciation for his honesty, and I wish him, the team and the club all the very best for the future.
“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,” he wrote.
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