Jack Wilshere Reveals Why He Chose to Join West Ham & Reveals His Boyhood Idols

Former ​Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has revealed that his decision to move to ​West Ham was driven by his past, as he has felt a connection with the Irons throughout his life.

The 26-year-old left the Gunners after his contract expired, leaving him with a number of potential clubs interested in getting his signature.

Speaking to the ​Independent, Wilshere stated that his decision to move to the London Stadium was driven by his desire to play at his boyhood club. 

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“I’ve had a bond with West Ham since growing up as a kid, going to Upton Park, looking up to the players.

“Obviously I had to consider all my options – abroad and in England – but once I sat down, it was clear for me. They’ve got real ambitions, they’re playing in a big stadium in front of good fans, and we can build something special.

“As a team, they went through quite a lot last year, but they’re really tight. That’s going to help us going forward.”

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The player also revealed who he looked up to the most when he was a child, in the days when he used to go to Upton Park.

“Paolo Di Canio was my all-time hero. That team with Trevor Sinclair, even as far back as Julian Dicks. 

“Then when I got a little bit older, I really looked up to Joe Cole. I remember watching him in the Youth Cup as a kid. We beat Coventry about 9-0 [in 1999], and he was unbelievable. As a young player, I wanted to be like him.”


Why Losing Ivan Gazidis to Milan Would Be a Major Setback for Arsenal in the Post-Wenger Transition

​​Arsenal’s summer of business has been conducted with levels of efficiency, decisiveness, ruthlessness and precision which have not been seen from the Gunners since the days of David Dein.

There is a renewed energy, enthusiasm and determination in the way which Arsenal seem to be going about their work this summer. The departure of Arsene Wenger as the club’s manager was always going to be the catalyst for change, something which had long been anticipated by many, not least by chief executive, Ivan Gazidis.

The Gunners’ CEO joined the Emirates club almost a decade ago, and has emerged rapidly from the shadows in recent months in light of Arsene Wenger’s departure. Gazidis took the role of chief executive in November 2008, with it expected that he would assume many of ex-vice-chairman David Dein’s responsibilities at the club.

Much of Arsene Wenger’s successes during his first decade at the helm of Arsenal were enabled through the Frenchman’s excellent operating relationship alongside Dein at the club.

There was a great understanding between the two men, which allowed Wenger to put his ideas into practice through Dein’s sharing of the manager’s revolutionary vision for the Gunners and English football.

When Wenger wanted to bring the likes of Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Robert Pires to the club, Dein made sure that it happened.

Following the realisation of his departure from the Emirates in May, ​Wenger admitted that one of his biggest regrets from his 22-year tenure at the club was David Dein’s exit in 2007.

Whilst the subsequent failure to win another Premier League title during Wenger’s second decade as manager, following Dein’s departure, is by no means exact proof of the importance of a figure of Dein’s influence, it certainly suggests a correlation with success.

With Wenger departing the club at the end of last season, it was a monumental question on the minds of many as to who would assume the responsibility of bringing an effective transition into a new era, following the departure of a man who had virtually defined the modernity of his club.

In truth, Ivan Gazidis had already taken this responsibility comfortably in his stride some time before Wenger’s departure.

In November 2017, Sven Mislintat was brought in from Borussia Dortmund to be Arsenal’s new Head of Recruitment. That same month, Barcelona’s long-serving Director of Football, Raul Sanllehi, was brought to the Emirates as the Gunners’ new Head of Football Relations.

Six months prior to the departure of Wenger, Gazidis had already set about importing a new structure of world-class football minds to begin taking control of many of the areas of club management which had previously been within Wenger’s virtual autocracy.

Upon Wenger’s exit in May, it was Gazidis, together with Mislintat and Sanllehi, who formed a three-man committee which oversaw the appointment of new head coach Unai Emery as Wenger’s successor, crucially, however, not as manager.

Instead, Emery’s responsibilities lie almost exclusively within the realms of team management, not club management.

Whereas Wenger’s tenure had grown in such stature that the Frenchman eventually assumed virtual control over almost every aspect of Arsenal’s operations on and off the pitch as a club, the diluted role of head coach is set to enable Emery a greater sole focus on team matters.

As for the rest of the ample fields of business which a club of Arsenal’s stature must manage, there is now a clear and concise structure of expert individuals to handle off-field matters, which also includes recently appointed contract negotiator, Huss Fahmy.

At the head of the Mislintat-Sanllehi-Fahmy structure, and with a new lease of influence and role of stewardship, is CEO Gaizidis.

The successful manner with which this new structure can already be seen to operate is evident not only through the meticulously plotted and executed appointment of Emery as the new head coach, but also through the new wave of transfer activity which already makes Arsenal appear a more formidable team ahead of the upcoming season than has been the case for some time.

Transfer business has been conducted with remarkable efficiency, and it has addressed each of Arsenal’s defensive weaknesses with ruthless precision.

Following what has already been a greatly impressive summer overseeing all business in the post-Wenger transition ahead of next season, ​Ivan Gazidis has been linked with a shock move to assume a similar role at AC Milan.

The Serie A giants have endured a blight of off-field issues over the past year, with Financial Fair Play trouble and ownership problems posing a serious threat to their prospects for on-field success next term.

I Rossoneri have already been banished from European competition next season, having qualified for the Europa League, and it is apparently the consensus that a figure of Gazidis’ leadership is now required to steady the ship at the San Siro.

Whilst gaining the services of Gazidis would be a great boost to ​Milan’s hopes of overcoming their troubles, it would be Arsenal’s loss in at least equal measure.

The 53-year-old’s overseeing of the post-Wenger era may be in full swing, but it is still very early days, and much of the continued success of Arsenal’s new era seemingly hinges on Gazidis’ presence.

Unai Emery’s instant bond with Arsenal’s CEO appears set to breed a new incarnation of the Wenger-Dein leadership which yielded such great success for the Gunners, and it seems certain that the new phase depends with correlative importance on the Emery-Gazidis duo as Arsenal’s new two-pronged driving force.

During the ​press conference in May in which Gazidis took the responsibility of announcing Wenger’s departure, the CEO declared: 

“In the coming weeks the world will see the unity and power of this great club and the people within it. It’s my ambition to make sure we honour and build upon that [Wenger’s] contribution.”

Gazidis has taken centre stage of the post-Wenger transition. Now, in the face of interest and a potentially high-paying offer from Milan, Arsenal’s chief executive must stand firm to the club which he has pledged his allegiance and deliver what he has promised.  


Arsenal Youngster Kelechi Nwakali Officially Joins Porto on Season-Long Loan

​Arsenal youngster Kelechi Nwakali has joined Porto on loan for the duration of the 2018/19 season and will take up a place in the Portuguese club’s B team as he looks to further broaden his experience.

Former Under-17 World Cup winner Nwakali joined the Gunners in the summer of 2016 after a lengthy transfer saga full of premature ‘confirmations’.

He was immediately loaned to Maastricht in the Dutch second tier, before staying in the Netherlands to spend a season on loan at VVV Venlo at a higher level in the Eredivisie.

“My main goal is to develop, improve my qualities and the other aspects I know I need to correct to grow in the way I play,” the 20-year-old told Porto’s official website.

“I think FC Porto is the right place to evolve as a player. There are good players, young people, and I think I’ll grow up here,” he added.

Dutch Eredivisie'sc Heerenveen v VVV Venlo'

In a statement, Arsenal said: “We wish him all the best for his season with Porto.”


Turkish Giants Besiktas on the Verge of Signing Arsenal & Colombia Goalkeeper David Ospina

​​Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina’s days at the Emirates appear to be numbered, as he is expected to join Turkish Super Lig side Besiktas.

According to the following tweet by Colombian sports journalist Esteban Jaramillo, Ospina has already made a verbal commitment to join the Turkish giants and is expected to sign for them imminently.

​​Jaramillo also adds that Ospina chose Besiktas ahead of ​La Liga side Sevilla and ​Serie A giants ​SSC Napoli.

It is no surprise that Ospina looks set to leave Arsenal, as his agent recently revealed that he ​was ‘uncomfortable’ at the Emirates. The Colombia star has spent four years with the Gunners but has never been their first choice keeper.

Before joining Arsenal in 2014, Ospina spent six seasons in Ligue 1 with Nice, where he featured regularly. He also made 18 league appearances in his first season with the Gunners.

Colombia v England: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

However, he has featured in just 11 ​Premier League matches for Arsenal in the last three years – although he did play regularly in the Gunners’ run to last season’s Europa League semi-finals, where they lost to ​Atletico Madrid. Hence, it is understandable that the Colombian craves more first team action – especially seeing as he will turn 30 at the end of August.

Ospina did his prospects no harm with solid displays in Colombia’s run to the last 16 of the ​FIFA World Cup in Russia, where he conceded just three goals in four matches – and two of those were penalties. He also saved Jordan Henderson’s spot kick in the penalty shootout with England – although his heroics were ultimately in vain, as the Three Lions prevailed.


Ospina may have realised that his days at Arsenal were numbered when the Gunners signed Bernd Leno from Bayer Leverkusen for £20m in June. He will no doubt hope for a more fulfilling spell in Turkey – and, above all, for more matches.


Jurgen Klopp Tells Ozil & Gundogan Critics to ‘Shut Up’ After Controversial Turkey President Photo

​​Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has defended German duo Mesut Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan after the pair came under fire following a meeting with the Turkish president.

Ozil and Gundogan, who both have Turkish roots, were photographed with Recep Tayyip Erdogan and many fans believe the players were making a political statement about dual nationality and national identity.

Germany v Saudi Arabia - International Friendly

Gundogan offered the President a signed shirt with the message, “To my president, with my respects” written on the back, despite the fact that Gundogan was born in Germany.

Klopp was asked about the incident during an interview with German outlet ​Sport Bild and was quick to defend the two players, saying: “The intelligent people of this country demand tolerance. And the others should shut up and not question the boys.

“Both were certainly not very well advised in this matter. Older, more experienced people should have helped them there.

Korea Republic v Germany: Group F - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

“We should not forget that the two of them have Turkish roots even though they grew up here in Germany.

“But it is the same as always: the one who cries the loudest is the one who hears the most. But that’s never been my thing.”

Ozil and Gundogan, who play for ​Arsenal and ​Manchester City respectively, were booed by German fans before the ​World Cup, with many fans calling for the pair to withdraw from the national team.

Germany v Saudi Arabia - International Friendly

Gundogan insisted the meeting was not politically motivated, telling news agency ​ZDF: “We were there because all ​Premier League players with Turkish roots had been invited to a charity event, and that’s where the photo was taken.

“We have a strong connection to Turkey but that doesn’t mean we would ever claim that Mr. (Frank-Walter) Steinmeier isn’t our president or that Angela Merkel isn’t our chancellor.”

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Germany endured a disastrous World Cup campaign, failing to emerge from the group stage in their attempts to retain the World Cup. Defeats to Mexico and South Korea condemned the Germans to one of the darkest days in their recent sporting memory.