Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere is to leave the club after 17 years having been told he faces a diminished role under new head coach Unai Emery.
The 26-year-old had previously accepted a reduced-terms deal to extend his contract which expires at the end of the month but discussions with Emery convinced him he had “little choice” but to leave for “footballing reasons”.
Wilshere and his agent had been negotiating his future with the club for several months but the meeting with Emery, appointed as Arsene Wenger’s successor in late May, proved the turning point.
“I can confirm I will be leaving Arsenal Football Club when my contract expires at the end of June,” Wilshere wrote on Instagram.
“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.
“Following my meeting with the new manager I was made aware that although the reduced contract offer remained, it was made clear to me that my playing time would be significantly reduced should I decide to stay.
“I am sure everyone can understand that at this point in my life and career I need to be playing first team football and following my meeting with Mr Emery I came away feeling that it would be very difficult for me to do so at Arsenal.
“Given this, I feel I have no option but to pursue other opportunities in order to progress my career on the pitch.
“I would like to place on record my respect for Mr Emery and my appreciation for his honesty and candour and I wish him, the team and the club all the very best for the future.”