Arsenal boss Unai Emery has explained Jack Wilshere’s departure from the club was a tactical and technical decision and had nothing to do with the midfielder’s injury troubles.
Wilshere left Arsenal this month after his contract expired, having been with the club since he was just nine. The midfielder opted to move across London to West Ham United on a three-year deal worth a reported €113,000-a-week.
Before making that decision.
Wilshere had met with new Arsenal manager Emery and it was after those talks that the 26-year-old decided it was time to leave.
Given Wilshere’s fitness problems over the past few years, it was speculated that may have been a key factor behind his departure.
Despite making 38 appearances last season, the midfielder has previously suffered with several injuries. In particular between 2014 to 2016, Wilshere made just 17 Premier League appearances and was loaned to Bournemouth for the following campaign.
Emery, however, has now explained Wilshere’s fitness battles had nothing to do with him parting ways with Arsenal.
“It was a tactical, technical decision,” said Emery. “It was one decision, one private conversation, and I want to respect that.
“The conversation with Wilshere was a very good conversation, very direct, together.
When Wilshere announced in June he would be leaving Arsenal, the midfielder explained the decision was born out of a desire for first-team football.
“I felt that I was ultimately left with little choice but to make the decision that I have due to purely footballing reasons,” he said.
“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.
“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.”
Emery has confirmed Wilshere’s words and admitted he was unable guarantee him a place in his new-look side.
As Wilshere’s heartfelt goodbye message demonstrated, it was not an easy decision for him to leave his boyhood club. However Emery says the England international felt he had no choice but to go after it was revealed he did not fit into the new head coach’s plans.
“I know this player here is important for the supporters and grew up here in Arsenal.
“But I don’t give him one post in the starting 11 and is for that he chose to leave here and I respect also this.”
While Wilshere has been allowed to leave, Emery has confirmed he wants Aaron Ramsey to stay at the club. The midfielder has just one year remaining on his current contract and talks are still ongoing over a new deal.
Arsenal’s new transfer team, which includes head of recruitment Sven Mislintat, head of football relations Raul Sanllehi, and chief executive Ivan Gazidis, are the ones conducting talks.
Emery has stressed to them how important he believes Ramsey will be to his team going forward.
“I’m very happy with him,” said Emery. “For me, every day, every training session, he has the ambition I want.
“He’s working with a quality, the type of ability that I want. I want to work with him.
“In my opinion, I’ve said to Ivan, Raul, and Sven that I think he’s an important player for me.”
Keeping Ramsey is Arsenal’s last major task of the current transfer window as, unlike other seasons, the club have completed all their signings with weeks to spare.
The new transfer team has worked efficiently and quickly, and Emery only wants them to dip into market if a special player becomes available.
“Normally, in my career the big clubs don’t close the [door] or the moment to sign a new player,” he said.
“We signed the players who we needed and only if one player is a big opportunity for us will we sign them.
“Normally, we are thinking about the young players, the possibility of them staying with us or going to play on loan at another team.
“We are also thinking about the players who were with us last year and whether we need them to stay with us. At the moment, I think the squad is complete.”