LONDON, United Kingdom, May 16 – Former Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has revealed that manager Unai Emery encouraged him to leave the club.
The 28-year-old left the Gunners after 10 years and 198 appearances in July 2018 and penned a three-year deal with West Ham and he has said it was former Arsenal boss Emery who ushered him out of the door at The Emirates.
Former England man Wilshere says he was in talks with Arsenal regarding a new contract and Arsene Wenger was “doing everything” for him before the Frenchman’s exit from the club.
Spanish coach Emery replaced Wenger and in a meeting with the new coach Wilshere was advised to leave the club.
“I got offered a new deal and I wasn’t really happy with it, but Arsene was doing everything he could for me,” Wilshere told Arsenal’s Lockdown podcast.
“We got to a point where I’d almost agreed it then the news came that Arsene was leaving, and I just thought, ‘How can I sign a new deal that is based on appearances with a manager who I don’t know?’
“When Emery came in I wanted to sit down and have a conversation with him, we did and he said, ‘Basically if I were you I would leave – you’re not in my starting XI.’
“He had plans to buy a midfielder, I think he bought [Lucas] Torreira, and I wasn’t in his plans. And that was the moment that it felt like the club was going in a different direction and I decided to leave.”
The 28-year-old’s injury woes have not subsided since his departure; he has made just 16 appearances for the Hammers to date.
Wilshere also revealed he had some positional disagreements with Wenger – particularly after starring for England as a deeper-lying No.6.
“We disagreed on that [positions] a few times. But we laughed about it as well,” Wilshere added.
“Things went really well when I was playing [deeper] and I felt like I was learning that role and then I came back and had a conversation with Arsene and he was like, ‘No, I don’t see you playing there.’
“We didn’t really play that formation where there was that one holding midfielder anyway but I wanted to play in the two but he kept playing me in the No 10 role – which I enjoyed.
“I was playing No 10 with the No 10 on my back so I was living the dream but I just felt I could give a little bit more when I was deeper.”