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‘Year after year, players left’: Jack Wilshere admits big-name departures saw Arsenal’s expectations

Jack Wilshere has explained how the departure of big stars damaged Arsenal‘s ambition during his time at the club.

Wilshere became a prominent figure in the Arsenal first team for the first time in the 2010-11 season, the last campaign in which the Gunners mounted a legitimate title challenge. 

However, captain Cesc Fabregas left for Barcelona that summer, fellow top stars Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie quickly following suit, joining Manchester City and Manchester United respectively.

Jack Wilshere has explained how the departure of big stars damaged Arsenal's ambition

Jack Wilshere has explained how the departure of big stars damaged Arsenal's ambition

Jack Wilshere has explained how the departure of big stars damaged Arsenal’s ambition

Asked whether Fabregas’ exit had a detrimental impact in the Arsenal dressing room, Wilshere told The Lockdown Tactics podcast: ‘Yeah it did. The big players like Robin and Nasri were asking the question like “why is he going, we think we’re supposed to be challenging for the Premier League”. 

‘Why is our best player and our captain leaving? Then you see obviously Nasri went to City and I got on really well with Samir and I remember having a conversation with him and he was saying what City are building, it’s hard not to want to be a part of that. 

‘I could understand where he was coming from but at the same time it hurt because he was so good for us. 

‘He was going to be one of the reasons why we’d improve and start challenging. I’d always think back to that first season and when we came so close and thinking what would’ve happened.

Cesc Fabregas (L), Samir Nasri (C) and Robin van Persie (R) left in the space of one year

Cesc Fabregas (L), Samir Nasri (C) and Robin van Persie (R) left in the space of one year

Cesc Fabregas (L), Samir Nasri (C) and Robin van Persie (R) left in the space of one year

‘Would Cesc have stayed, attracted bigger players challenged in the Champions League? But year after year players left.’ 

‘I saw it over when I first started to the expectation dropping even from then,’ Wilshere added. ‘From the first season challenging for the Premier League to then challenging for the top four was what we were going for.’

Wilshere’s time at the Emirates came to an end when his deal expired in July 2018, the midfielder joining West Ham on a three-year contract. He left with two FA Cup winner’s medals.

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