West Ham midfielder Jack Wilshere has revealed he was close to agreeing a new contract with Arsenal before Unai Emery's arrival as manager in 2018.
During Arsene Wenger's final year at the club Wilshere made 38 appearances in all competitions, but new coach Emery showed him the door shortly after joining, not seeing the Englishman as part of his plans.
Wilshere had consistent injury problems during his time at the Emirates, only managing 198 games over ten seasons, but he got through plenty of games during the 2016/17 and 2017/18 season, the former of which was his loan spell at Bournemouth.
Wilshere spoke to Arsenal's Lockdown podcast about his exit, the discussions he had with both managers, and how Emery ended his time at the north London club.
He said: "I got offered a new deal and I wasn't really happy with it, but Arsene was doing everything he could for me. 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."
Wilshere ultimately moved to West Ham - the club he supported as a boy - in the summer of 2018. However, his injury issues have remained and he has only made 14 Premier League appearances for the Hammers.
The England international harbours no resentment for Arsenal though, despite admitting he often had disagreements with Wenger about his best position. Wilshere often starred for England as a deep lying playmaker, and believed his club weren't using him effectively enough.
He added: "We disagreed on that [positions] a few times. But we laughed about it as well. 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 number ten role - which I enjoyed. I was playing number ten with the number ten on my back so I was living the dream but I just felt I could give a little bit more when I was deeper."
Source : 90min