One of the longest serving soccer managers in the English Premier League, Arsene Wenger will no longer be part of the Arsenal dugout at the end of the current season.
With a year left on his contract, Wenger, 68, has revealed in a letter that “after careful consideration”, he has decided to put an end to his 22-year relationship with the North London club. Having joined Arsenal in 1996, the Frenchman went on to transform the-then ordinary soccer outfit into one of the top clubs in England and in indeed in the world.
His final match is on May 13 against Huddersfield.
“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,” he said in a letter to the club’s supporters.
Arsenal confirmed they will appoint Wenger’s successor “as soon as possible” with the likes of Carlo Ancelotti, Leonardo Jardim and Thomas Tuchel among the frontrunners.
Arsene Wenger won three league titles at the club with the famous being during the 2003-4 season where he led the “Invincibles” to the title without losing a single game. Wenger has also won seven FA Cup titles, the Community Shield seven times and was indicted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
He has led Arsenal in 823 matches so far, winning 473, drawn 199 times and lost 151.
In 1998, Wenger was voted the World Manager of the Year. He has been the English Premier League Manager of the Month 15 times.
Arsenal’s majority shareholder Stan Kroenke continued the tributes to the Frenchman, who has not indicated he will retire.
“This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport. 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,” he said.
“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.”
Tributes have been pouring from fellow soccer managers, current and former players, soccer commentators and analysts alike as well as supporters since Wenger dropped the bombshell. Among those who paid tribute include old rival, Jose Mourinho, Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, former skipper Tony Adams, former player, Cesc Fabregas, among a host of many others.