West Ham United boss Manuel Pellegrini has made the most significant signing of his short spell at the club by snapping up influential midfielder Jack Wilshere from Arsenal.
Wilshere, who was told by new Gunners coach Unai Emery that he wasn’t guaranteed first team football at the Emirates and he should pursue his career elsewhere, has penned a three-year contract with the Hammers.
And the England star, who missed out on being selected by England chief Gareth Southgate for the FIFA World Cup in Russia this summer, says he is delighted to make the move across London to play for a team for whom he has a special bond.
Just before he flew out to Switzerland to link up with Pellegrini’s squad at a pre-season training camp in Bad Ragaz, he said:
“It feels good, it feels special. Many people know that I’ve had a special bond with this club growing up.
“People will have seen the picture of me in a West Ham shirt and I’ve got good memories of my childhood supporting West Ham, watching them at Upton Park. It feels good and of course my family and a few of my friends are West Ham fans so everyone’s buzzing.”
Wilshere had a number of options on leaving Arsenal but he says his heart was always set on making the switch to the Hammers once he learned that there was a desire to recruit him.
“I think it was a number of things, the manager being one and the way he wants to play and where he sees me playing. The fans, of course – everyone knows how big West Ham’s fanbase is – and especially in this new Stadium. Not many clubs could fill it week in, week out, and West Ham do.
“I want to be playing here in front of the Hammers, and the bond I’ve had with the Club over my childhood will make it even more special.”
Meanwhile, West Ham director of football, Mario Husillos, has spoken of the club’s joy at getting their man amidst a lot of competition for his signature. He said:
“Manuel and I identified him as a target as soon as we joined the club and we are delighted to have succeeded in securing Jack’s signature above a number of other teams.
“Jack is a player with vast experience and quality at the highest level, having played all of his career in the Premier League. On the biggest stage, he has shown that he has game-changing abilities, as well as having the creativity and intelligence to make a real difference to our squad.
“He is a passionate man and has shown winning characteristics throughout his career. Jack will be a great addition and we look forward to seeing his undoubted quality in a West Ham United shirt over the coming years as we fight for important goals at the club.”