Arsene Wenger has announced that he will end his 22-year reign at the Emirates at the end of the campaign.
Wenger, who is currently the longest-serving manager in the Premier League, still has one year left on his current contract, but will step down from the managerial position at the end of the season.
In an emotional announcement on Friday morning ahead of the Gunners’ match against West Ham, Wenger said: “After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season.
“I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special.
“I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. My love and support forever.”
Wenger took charge of the Gunners in 1996, and won the Premier League thrice along with seven FA Cup titles during his time with the club.
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However, the Frenchman’s most successful season ever was the 2003-04 campaign, when his side earned the famous Invincibles tag for remaining undefeated in England’s top flight.
But from the past few seasons, his managerial and tactical awareness has come into question, with the fans urging the Arsenal board to sack the 68-year-old.
Gunners missed Champions League football this season, and could once again be left out of the European competition next year if they fail to win the Europa League.
Meanwhile, Twitter erupted as soon as Wenger made the shocking announcement, as fans from across the globe expressed their heartfelt emotions on the Frenchman’s decision to quit Emirates.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 20, 2018
— Premier League (@premierleague) April 20, 2018
David Dein invited 9 of us correspondents into Highbury board-room to meet #Wenger in 96. Arsene spoke for 50 mins, and we were spellbound by his attacking philosophy, belief in nutrition (broccoli!) & obsession with #afc as a community club. A visionary had arrived. 1/10
— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) April 20, 2018
As a United fan, I thought I was ready for Wenger to leave but I’m not. The memories of the intense United vs Arsenal rivalry during my childhood have all come rushing back. It’s not the same these days but he was like the last remaining piece😭
— Tobi (@Tobjizzle) April 20, 2018
1993, I started watching a Team, I didnt know the name of the team, but i knew their Goalkeeper had long hair "David Seaman", I was later told the name of the team i fell in love with is Arsenal with Manager Arsene Wenger. Took me 7 years to realize he was not the club owner. 🤣 pic.twitter.com/abalaDSebm
— Bhadmus Hakeem (@Bhadoosky) April 20, 2018
We're going to miss Wenger and his coat. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/SivbkfTNhO
— The Sun Football ⚽ (@TheSunFootball) April 20, 2018
Liverpool's managers during Arsene Wenger's time at Arsenal:
*Roy Evans/Gerard Houllier
And that's one of the shorter lists, I imagine.
— Sachin Nakrani (@SachinNakrani) April 20, 2018
🏆 Won the title at Old Trafford
🏆 Won the title at White Hart Lane
🙌 The most successful manager in Arsenal Football Club's history.
One Arsène Wenger. pic.twitter.com/Q8dX4B6rXw
— bet365 (@bet365) April 20, 2018
Arsene Wenger built the best teams that I played against in English Football .The 98 team was Amazing.The biggest compliment is that he played football that made us change the way we played against them. He now deserves the most incredible send off from all in the coming weeks.
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) April 20, 2018