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Fabregas, Nasri and Van Persie all left within two years of eachother (Picture: Getty Images)

Former Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has admitted the squad’s ‘expectations dropped’ when top players Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri left north London within two years of each other.

In February of the 2010-11 season, the Gunners were still in contention for the quadruple, but within the space of a few months they would go on to be kicked out of all cup competitions, and finish fourth in the Premier League.

Without a league title in eight years, Gunners hero Fabregas forced a move away from the Emirates Stadium to Barcelona in August 2011, and former France international Samir Nasri joined Manchester City just a few weeks later.

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When asked if the mood in the camp was affected by the Spaniard’s exit, Wilshere told The Lockdown Tactics podcast: ‘Yeah it did [the vibe changed]. 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.

Arsene Wenger couldn’t convince the star trio to stay (Picture: Getty Images)

‘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.

‘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. From the first season challenging for the PL to then challenging for the top four was what we were going for.’

Dutch striker Van Persie was next to depart from the north London club a year later in 2012, deciding not to extend his Arsenal contract in favour of a move to Manchester United.

Wilshere added: ‘Robin when he left he was coming to the end and only had a couple of years left he was arguably joining one of the biggest clubs in the world who had just won the league and obviously the manager was a big part in that.

‘He was proved right in that he went on to win the Premier League the next season.

‘There wasn’t really [any offers for me] and to be honest, I wouldn’t have gone anyway. I was happy playing at a club I dreamed of playing for since I was nine. I thought I was going towards being a big player for Arsenal, perhaps even captain.’

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