Fast on the back of Bernd Leno signing and Jens Lehmann announcing he is off, Jack Wilshere has released a statement regarding his future.
I think I speak on behalf of a lot of Arsenal fans when I say this is sad news, but also probably the right decision for all involved.
Jack Wilshere is now 26. Having joined the academy in 2001 at the age of 9, he made his debut 10 years ago – becoming Arsenal’s youngest ever league debutant at just 16 years and 256 days.
If back then you would have said that he would have played just 125 league games for Arsenal; I would have laughed.
By now, he really should have been captain. The heart beat of the team. Both The Arsenal and England.
Instead he finds himself at home rather than in Russia. And I think it is the snub by England that has left him to leave Arsenal.
Having missed Euro 2012 through injury, played just 2 games at the 2014 World Cup, and missed Euro 2016 through injury once again, he had got himself fit and ready to go to Russia. Gareth Southgate decided a lack of first team football and his injury record meant he missed the flight.
That means Wilshere has started just 1 game – a dead rubber against Costa Rica – in international tournament football. He made his debut at just 18.
I believe Wilshere when he says it was not about money. That he was happy with Arsenal’s financial offer.
At 26, he already has more money than he could dream of. He and his new wife and 3 children are already set up for life.
For Wilshere, he wants recognition. He wants to play regularly. To perform for club and perhaps now more importantly, country.
He wants first team football. The problem is, at Arsenal, we can not guarantee that. And not should we. I imagine this is what Unai Emery told him.
He is behind Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey, with Lucas Torreira also set to come in. He would be competing with Mohamed Elneny for a place on the bench.
Wilshere knows full well he will not get first team football, week in week out at Arsenal. He also knows he will not achieve this at the 5 sides above him. That means he will have to look down.
The likes of West Ham, Crystal Palace, Wolves and Southampton have already been linked. It might be harsh, but this is probably his level to be playing week in week out.
Southgate has shown by selecting the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Harry Maguire and Jake Livermore that it is important to be playing and performing in the Premier League, regardless of who you play for.
I sit in the SheWore WhatsApp group where we can not agree on anything. When the news broke of Wilshere’s statement, everyone was in agreement, it was the right decision for him.
Yeah he needs a new challenge. Love him but he was getting stale
Good luck to him wish him well
We have had many heated debates on here over him over the years but I think we probably all agree it’s the right time for him to go
Gutted he going but no doubt it’s right time for both parties
And I think that last one sums it all up. It is probably the right time for him to leave, for both himself and Arsenal.
The easy option would have been for him to stay at the club, sign a new deal, remain in his comfort zone. 20-30 games a season. But he still has a burning desire to perform, to play week in week out, to get to the top.
I imagine in his mind he is focusing on the next two years. Euro 2020. Would he be best positioned to make the squad as a bit part player at Arsenal?
Or would his best chance be to join Wolves or Crystal Palace, playing week in week out – and not doubling up in mid-week allowing his body to rest?
I hope he gets what he wants, what he deserves. And in 2020 I hope I will be cheering him on in and England shirt.
Jack Wilshere, you are proper Arsenal.