“I was close to leaving but the club said ‘no’,” he said.
“I’m happy here, I love living in this city, I’ve never once stated I wanted to leave.”
If Benitez were still in charge at St James’ Park, Shelvey would have been more than likely a Hammer right now. The 27-year-old only started 10 games in total last season but looks set for a different role under Steve Bruce. Manuel Pellegrini will have been kicking himself after not being able to seal the deal that judging by Shelvey’s comments that was relatively close to completion. West Ham don’t have the best available depth in the heart of midfield, with Mark Noble and Declan Rice’s main back-up Carlos Sanchez in a defensive manner. The Colombian has struggled with consistent game time at the London Stadium, having missed 215 days last season adding up to 34 games [Transfermarkt]. Shelvey could have delivered a range of passing that could have added to Pellegrini’s squad, with the England international having averaged 1.5 key passes from a deeper role, as well as completing his passes at an 80.8% success rate according to WhoScored. Shelvey will remain as the one that got away for the Hammers, with the midfielder surely having been the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle for Pellegrini.