\R London, Jun 20 (AFP) England midfielder Jack Wilshere is to end almost two decades at Arsenal and leave on a free transfer after being told by manager Unia Emery he would not be a first choice next season.
The 26-year-old -- scorer of 14 goals in his 197 appearances since making his debut for 'The Gunners' in 2008 -- said he had offered to take a pay cut, which persuaded former manager Arsene Wenger to recommend he be awarded a new contract.
However, Emery told the injury-prone Wilshere -- who missed out on making the World Cup squad after his form faltered towards the end of the season -- even with that he would not be prominent in his planning for next season.
"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," he said in a post on Instagram.
"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."
"There will be the opportunity to talk properly when the time is right but for now I would just like to thank everyone at the club for everything over the past 17 years.
"In particular Arsene Wenger and his staff, all of my team-mates over the years, everyone at the academy for helping me fulfil my dream and of course the fans, who I have always shared such a special relationship with." (AFP) APA
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