Jack Wilshere admits that his departure from Arsenal in 2018 came at a “sad time”, with contract extension talks having been held before Unai Emery made it clear that there was no place for him at Emirates Stadium.
The England international midfielder had played his way back into favour with the Gunners towards the end of Arsene Wenger’s reign.
Having taken in loan spells away from north London, the creative 28-year-old was offered a deal that would reward him for steering clear of the treatment table.
He never got the chance to put pen to paper, though, as the departure of Wenger at the end of an iconic 22-year reign saw the slate wiped clean for everyone on Arsenal’s books.
The managerial baton was passed to Emery, with the Spaniard informing Wilshere that he had no role to play within his plans.
“I obviously had a year left and even into January I was playing in the team and there were still no discussions happening. Then finally the discussions happened. I got offered a new deal and I wasn't really happy with it.
"I'd have conversations with Arsene and he was doing all he could for me. We sort of got to the point where we'd almost agreed it and I was almost ready to sign.
“Then the news came that Arsene was leaving and I just thought: 'How can I sign a new deal at a club that is based on appearances? I need to play to get a decent amount of money with a manager who I don't know if he likes me'.
"I wanted to see who was going to come in and then when Emery did come in I wanted to sit down and have a conversation with him.
“He said to me: 'If I was you I would leave, you're not in my starting XI'. He had plans to buy a midfield, I think he bought [Lucas] Torreira and a few others and I wasn't in his plans. That was the moment when I decided.
“A lot of people who I'd grown up with, the staff, the physios, my friends basically [had left] - it felt like the club was going in a different direction and I decided to leave.
“I was part of Arsenal, it's a massive club and I was a big part of it, it was difficult. It was a sad time to leave and even now I look back and think: 'Yeah, that was a tough time'.”
Injury struggles have continued to plague Wilshere since he swapped Arsenal for West Ham, with just 16 appearances taken in for the Hammers across the last two seasons.