Arsenal head coach Unai Emery insists it was a “tactical, technical decision” to allow Jack Wilshere to leave the Emirates Stadium and nothing to do with his injury record.
Wilshere signed for West Ham earlier this week after parting company with Arsenal at the end of his contract.
The England midfielder had been with the Gunners for 17 years but revealed in June that a conversation with Emery, who replaced Arsene Wenger at the helm a month earlier, had left him questioning his future.
“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,” he wrote as part of an Instagram post.
Missing out on a place in England’s World Cup squad has also likely played a part in Wilshere’s decision to move to the London Stadium in the hope of more regular football moving forward.
His recent injury record has been an improvement on previous years but he only made 25 Premier League appearances across his final three seasons at Arsenal.
Emery, though, revealed it was purely footballing terms that left him questioning where Wilshere would fit in his new-look Arsenal side.
“It was a tactical, technical decision,” he said. “The conversation with Wilshere was a very good conversation, very directly together.
“I explained to him my opinion and how I wanted to create the team and that I said to him I was unsure if he is going to play in the 11 players.
“He explained to me the decision is not easy for him but he wanted to chose the best option for him and every time it is with respect.
“I know this player here is important for the supporters and grew up here in Arsenal but I don’t give him one place in the starting 11 and it is for that (reason) he choose to leave here and I respect also this.”
While Wilshere moved on at the end of his deal, Emery is keen for Arsenal to avoid a similar situation with Aaron Ramsey, whose contract expires next year.
Wenger would have made the call in the past but, with chief executive Ivan Gazidis now working closely with head of recruitment Sven Mislintat and head of football relations Raul Sanllehi, Emery does not have the final say.
However, Ramsey has caught the eye of the new head coach in training, who is keen to see him extend his stay.
“I’m very happy with him,” Emery added.
“For me, every day, every training session, he has the ambition I want. He’s working with a quality, the type of ability that I want. I want to work with him.
“This (the new contract) is one question for the player and for the club. In my opinion, I’ve said to Ivan, Raul and Sven that I think he’s an important player for me.”