Midfielder Jack Wilshere has announced he will leave London club Arsenal when his contract expires at the end of June.
In an Instagram post on Tuesday, Wilshere – who came through Arsenal’s academy and made his first-team debut for the club in 2008 at the age of 16, confirmed he was ending his lengthy stint at Emirates Stadium with reluctance, Omnisport reported.
However, the midfielder said he felt he was “ultimately left with little choice” after multiple conversations with the club and new manager Unai Emery over his future.
Wilshere made only 12 starts and eight substitute appearances in the Premier League during Arsene Wenger’s final season in charge and duly missed out on a place in England’s World Cup squad.
In a post accompanied by the message ‘Thanks for the memories’, Wilshere wrote: “I can confirm that I will be leaving Arsenal Football Club 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 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.
“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 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.”
A player who has endured several lengthy injury lay-offs, Wilshere spent the 2016-17 season on loan at Bournemouth, before returning to Arsenal for the recently concluded campaign.
Amid persistent speculation over his future, he was restricted to a bit-part role in the league, but did feature frequently as the Gunners reached the Europa League semi-finals.
Wilshere has not represented England since their humiliating exit from Euro 2016 at the hands of Iceland, but retained hope of making Gareth Southgate’s 23-man party for the World Cup in Russia.
He was left disappointed, though, and it now remains to be seen whether the 26-year-old can now resurrect his international career at his next club.
Arsenal released a statement praising Wilshere, who made 197 appearances for the team and won the FA Cup on two occasions.
The statement concluded: “Thank you Jack for your contribution and the fantastic memories. Good luck in the future.”