Jack Wilshere joined Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham revolution on Monday, signing a three-year contract for the club he grew up supporting.
The 26-year-old midfielder held talks with Pellegrini in London after being told by Arsenal manager Unai Emery last month that he was not in his plans.
Wilshere is Pellegrini’s fourth summer signing following Issa Diop, Lukasz Fabianski and Ryan Fredericks and more are set to follow.
They are close to a deal for Lazio’s Felipe Anderson for about £38million, a club record, and are also chasing Borussia Dortmund’s Andriy Yarmolenko for £18m and Fabian Balbuena of Corinthians for £4m.
Wilshere, whose contract is worth about £100,000 a week, was wanted by Fenerbahce, while Everton and Wolves also expressed an interest.
Yet the presence of Pellegrini convinced Wilshere to sign for West Ham, with the Chilean aiming to compete for Europe next season.
Position: Central midfield
2018 – present: West Ham
FA Cup x2
England 34 caps, 2 goals
Fitness permitting, Wilshere, who was disappointed to be left out of England’s World Cup squad, will play in the No 10 position.
He will now join his team-mates on their training camp in Switzerland. ‘It feels good, it feels special,’ said Wilshere, whose career has been hindered by injuries. ‘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.’
Asked what convinced him to sign, Wilshere said: ‘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 like West Ham.’
Mario Husillos, West Ham’s director of football, said: ‘Manuel and I identified him as a target as soon as we joined the club. Jack is a player with vast experience and quality at the highest level.
‘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.’