Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky has paved way for a possible departure from the Emirates Stadium this summer after admitting that he seriously considered his future in north London in the build-up to the January transfer window.
The Czech Republic international grew increasingly frustrated by his lack of competitive action for Arsene Wenger's side in the first half of the 2014/15 campaign, which forced him to think about a potential exit.
Sport Witness cites a recent interview with the 34-year-old that took place after linking up with the national squad during the enforced break from domestic football this week, where Rosicky was asked whether he could still leave the Gunners at the end of the season when his current £80,000-a-week contract expires.
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"We've talked about it [leaving] in September, October. Then the transfer market was closed, so I couldn't do anything," the Arsenal veteran is quoted saying by Czech media outlet iSport. "When in December I had not played a single game and the market then opens, it's obviously a very real issue.
"Then you start to think about whether or not it is time to leave. I was no exception, it was very real. But Arsenal said that I wasn't for sale and that was it."
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Rosicky did start Arsenal's 2-1 victory over Queens Park Rangers on Boxing Day and capped his increasingly rare first-team opportunity with a goal, which has resulted in more regular minutes during the second half of the campaign.
The fact that the Gunners retain an option to extend the player's current deal by a further 12 months means that Wenger is in complete control of his loyal servant's future beyond the summer - something that the former Borussia Dortmund star concedes could prevent him from negotiating a move away.
Questioned about whether he is happy with his current workload, Rosicky explained: "Compared to the first six months, it's much better. We'll see how it goes on.
"The rest of the season will go very fast, then we'll work it out. Arsenal has another option on me next season, they have everything in their hands. When I get back from the national team, we'll begin to deal with it."
After joining the club in 2006, Rosicky is now one of the longest-serving players in the Arsenal squad, and supporters still have a strong affinity with the creative midfielder. They will undoubtedly be sad to see him leave, but will probably respect his desire to secure more frequent first-team action as he enters the final stage of his professional career.
"To be honest, the most seriously [he's considered an exit], that's for sure," - Tomas Rosicky
A move abroad is one possible option for the Gunners ace to consider, but he would also be open to extending his stay in the Premier League if the opportunity presented itself after considering quitting the club for the first time in nine years.
Arsenal fans: Do you think Arsene Wenger will allow Tomas Rosicky to leave the Emirates this summer? Would you begrudge him a transfer if he wants to move on? Share your thoughts below…