The news broke this morning that Arsene Wenger will be leaving his position as Arsenal manager at the end of the season. Ending a 22-year reign that has seen multiple trophies won, a Champions League final reached and one of his teams go a full Premier League season unbeaten.
The announcement was made by Arsene early this morning, and he gave the following statement: (Credit: Sky Sports)
“After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel that 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.”
To me, Wenger is Mr Arsenal. He has been in charge of Arsenal my entire life and it is all I have ever known. It is going to be strange to see another face in the Gunners dugout next season, just like it was when Sir Alex Ferguson left Manchester United.
A 22-year reign as manager of Arsenal is something English football will never see again. The likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger are a rarity, and in the modern game, it is hard to envision how that would ever be possible to repeat.
The Frenchman brought a new and entertaining style of play to the Premier League, and during the 2000’s, Arsenal were easily the most exciting team to watch. They played an exuberant, attacking style that hadn’t really been seen before. He also developed and provided English football with countless stars, including Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Dennis Bergkamp and many others.
Wenger announcing that he is leaving at the end of the season is ideal timing, and it could have been intentional.
Making the announcement before the huge semi-final against Atletico Madrid is perfect, as it will motivate the fans, and players to give their all for the manager and their future. Winning the Europa League would be monumental for the club. It would give the Gunners qualification to next season’s Champions League, providing Wenger the perfect send-off and making the vacancy more attractive to any potential suitors.
A lot of the Wenger-out brigade were probably right in that Arsene remained in charge of Arsenal a few years too long. They have voted with their feet this season and it has been very noticeable. However, they now have their wish and it’s time for the stay-away Arsenal fans to come back and show their appreciation and respect for not only a club, but a Premier League legend.
The word legend is thrown about easily today, but Arsene Wenger is literally the definition. I wish Arsene nothing but the best for what he does next, whether that’s retirement or if he fancies a new adventure in football.
Written by Luke Beaumont – (@_LukeBeaumont)