End Of An Era: Arsene Wenger To Quit Arsenal
Arsene Wenger has announced that he will leave Arsenal at the end of the season, ending his 22-year career as the current longest-serving manager in the Premier League.
In what was a shock announcement on Friday, April 20, 2018, ahead of this weekend’s Premier League clash with West Ham, Wenger confirmed that he will leave the club.
“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,” Wenger said in a statement.
“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.”Arsenal’s majority shareholder, Stan Kroenke, paid tribute to Wenger and hailed his influence on the club as one of the key reasons that he bought into the club in the first place, with the American billionaire admitting that he hopes to build on the Frenchman’s legacy.
This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport,” Kroenke said. “One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsène has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched.
“Arsène has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude. Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record. He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played.
“We have high ambitions to build on Arsène’s remarkable tenure and to honour his vision by ensuring that Arsenal competes for and wins the biggest and most important prizes in the game.
“We must now focus on making a strong finish to the season and ask our millions of fans around the world to join us in paying appropriate tribute to one of the greats of Arsenal’s history and one of the greats of the game.”
The club also announced that they will “make an appointment as soon as possible”, but will not speak on the matter until that time comes.
The timing of the announcement immediately raised eyebrows, with Wenger holding his weekly press conference on Thursday without making any reference towards his imminent departure.
It also comes just six days before what could be Arsenal’s biggest game of the season, with the Gunners due to face Atletico Madrid in the Europa League semi-final first leg.
With Arsenal currently on course to miss out on the top four – falling 14 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham with 15 points left to play for – winning the Europa League looks to be Arsenal’s only hope of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
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