Wilshere: Unai Emery asked me to leave Arsenal despite contract talks

West Ham midfielder Jack Wilshere has disclosed that he was negotiating with former club Arsenal for a new contract before Unai Emery came in and ensured that he left the Emirates.

He made 198 appearances for the Gunners after becoming part of the first team in 2008 at the age of 16. His career has been hampered by recurring injuries since then, although he played more than 40 games under Arsene Wenger in all competitions in his final season.

The Englishman was keen on a new Arsenal contract but Unai Emery had his plans:

“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.’

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“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.”

Jack Wilshere’s injury problems have not subsided since then as he has made just 16 appearances for the Hammers.

The player went on to reminisce on his past at the Emirates and recalled some positional disagreement he had with Arsene Wenger after playing for England as a deeper-lying number 6.

“We disagreed on that [positions] a few times. But we laughed about it as well,” Wilshere said.

He 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 No10 role – which I enjoyed.

“I was playing No10 with the No10 on my back so I was living the dream but I just felt I could give a little bit more when I was deeper.”