We wake up this morning with Arsenal being a very different place from yesterday.
For the first time in 17 years, we have an Arsenal without Jack Wilshere.
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 had found himself at home rather than in Russia, and no longer an Arsenal player.
I think it is the snub by England that has led 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.
Wilshere has not left Arsenal due to money. He has not even done it to win trophies. He has left Arsenal in attempt to make something of his career before it is over.
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 could not guarantee that. And nor should we. I imagine this is what Unai Emery told him.
Wilshere knew full well he would 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. There is even speculation over a move to Turkey, with novibet.co.uk installing Fenerbache as 1/5 favourites for his signature.
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.
The easy option would have been for him to stay at Arsenal, 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.
He leaves Arsenal having given the fans many memories- most notably a performance against Barcelona and that goal against Norwich.
But these were from 2011 & 2013. The reality is there have not been enough similar performances since that goal against Norwich.
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.