Arsene Wenger was sacked by Arsenal, says Jack Wilshere, with that decision stunning everybody at the club and leading the midfielder to make his own summer exit. The long-serving Frenchman announced in April that he would be vacating the position in north London that he had held for 22 years.
At the time, Wenger said: “After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season.”
Wilshere has now suggested that the three-time Premier League title winner was forced into that decision, rather than it being mutually agreed.
The England international told Football Focus on that decision, which came as he was weighing up his own options in the final year of his deal: “I was in the last year of my contract, and I spoke with the manager at the time, Arsene Wenger.
“And he said that they won’t be offering me a new deal and that I could leave.
“But at the time I was injured and it was difficult, because I wasn’t fit and I wasn’t playing, and not many teams wanted me injured.
“So I decided to stay and I got back into the team and they finally offered me a deal in January which was ready to sign, and then Arsene got sacked.
“It was strange, everyone was just shocked and Per Mertesacker, the captain, said a few words, and I think everyone was just in shock.
“It was strange. No-one really saw it coming, but it changed everything, and I wanted to wait to speak to the new manager.
“And I did, and he was brilliant, he was honest with me.
“He said you can stay, but you won’t be in my starting XI, so I thought it was the right time to finally leave.”
With the managerial baton having passed to Unai Emery, Wilshere found himself on the fringes of Arsenal’s long-term plans.
The 26-year-old opted to walk away as a result, with a 17-year association with the Gunners brought to a close.
After dropping into the free agent pool, the all-action midfielder crossed London to sign for West Ham on a three-year contract.