It has finally happened! Jack Wilshere has parted his way with his longtime love, Arsenal Football Club. His decision has brought down the curtains on one of the most discussed subjects in the recent times among the Gunners faithful about the 26-year-old Englishman’s future. His contract is set to expire at the end of this month and it will definitely be a morbid day for the Arsenal fans as they see their once blue-eyed boy leave the Emirates stadium in search of greener pastures after as long as 17 years.
The decision was first declared by the player on Instagram, which reportedly came after his meeting with Arsenal’s new manager Unai Emery, who failed to provide him assurances of regular playing time.
Wilshere has been one of the biggest tragic heroes of English football to have ever graced the turf of the Emirates and before that the Highbury. He came to the club in the year 2001 and was a part of their youth side since 2008. In the very year, he saw himself getting inducted in the senior team for the first time and soon started to show why he deserved to be there, rubbing shoulders with some of the best players of English as well as European football.
His first match was against the then Premier League side Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park as he came on in the 84th minute as a substitute for his former teammate and one of the best strikers Arsenal have ever had, Robin Van Persie. He made his debut as an Arsenal player at the age of 16 years and 256 days to beat the Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas, a record that might be quite a challenge to break.
Touted as the next big thing in English football, he burst into the limelight in the 2010-11 season, right after his return from the season-long loan spell at Bolton Wanderers. His elegant style of making the ball talk at his feet gave both Arsenal and England a new star to ponder upon. However, Wilshere had a torrid time with injuries and has lost a big chunk of his playing time due to this misfortune. His loan spell at Bournemouth in the 2016-17 season was also disrupted due to the same to a great extent.
It is expected to be the same reason due to which he was somewhat “ill-treated” by the England national team coach Gareth Southgate, who did not pick him for the Three Lions squad that boarded the plane to Russia and also to some extent by Arsenal, who offered him a new contract that consisted of a number of clauses and more importantly, a pay cut, which looked “unacceptable” for a player of his stature.
Wilshere has been linked with a number of clubs in the recent times in England and outside it as well and it is to be seen where he ends up plying his trade in the next season. At 26, it is by no means an end to his illustrious career. However, his departure, undoubtedly, leaves a very big hole in the heart of the Gunners’ midfield and also in the hearts of the Arsenal fans, bringing an abrupt end to the romanticism that bestowed the arena at the Emirates Stadium when a young and exuberant 5’8″ stature vied, dribbled and danced his way through the opposition players to either put the ball in the right area for his teammates to score goals or find the back of the net on his own.
Thank you, Jack, you will always remain “one of Arsenal’s own”.