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By Chineze Ogugua

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has announced his departure from the club on a free transfer, ending his 17-year stay at the club.

Jack Wilshere

The 26-year old decided to call it quits at the club after he wasn’t given assurances by new coach Unai Emery about his playing time.

In an emotional statement on Instagram, he wrote: “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 made 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 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 remains, it was made clear to me that my playing time would be significantly reduced should I decide to stay.
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“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.”

In response Arsenal posted a statement on their official website:

“Everyone at Arsenal would like to wish Jack Wilshere a successful future following his decision to seek new opportunities.

“Jack made his Arsenal debut in September 2008 aged 16 and 256 days in a Premier League win over Blackburn Rovers, making him our youngest-ever league player. Just two months later he also broke our record for the youngest player in Europe, aged 16 and 329 days, when he played against Dynamo Kiev. Later that season he then played a major part in our FA Youth Cup victory, scoring in the final against Liverpool.

“During his time with Arsenal, Jack scored some memorable goals, winning BBC Match of the Day’s Goal of the Season in both 2013/14 and 2014/15. Twice a winner of the Victory Shield with England youth sides, Jack has made 34 appearances for his country.

“Since making his Arsenal debut, Jack made a total of 197 appearances for the club, winning the FA Cup twice – in 2014 and 2015.

“Thank you Jack for your contribution and the fantastic memories. Good luck in the future.”

Jack joined Arsenal as an academy player in 2001 and since then was loaned to Bolton Wanderers in 2010 and Bournemouth during the 2016/2017 season before returning to the Gunners fold where he was used sparingly by ex-manager Arsene Wenger.

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