It’s the news Arsenal fans have all been yearning for: Arsene Wenger will step down as manager at the end of the season.
Wenger, whose current two-year deal doesn’t actually run out until 2019, has always maintained he will honour his contract with the club he took over 22 years ago.
But following last weekend’s defeat to Newcastle United and a pretty woeful season on the whole, even the Frenchman can no longer deny it’s just not working anymore.
Arsenal have regressed under Wenger over the past 10 years. What he achieved in his first decade in north London was special, but since then it’s been a steady and sad decline.
Change is certainly needed and now Arsenal fans must anxiously wait to find out who will replace Wenger at the helm for next season.
“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,” said Wenger in a club 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.
THE END IS NIGH
“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 for ever.”
Carlo Ancelotti, Thomas Tuchel and Brendan Rodgers are all in the running to succeed Wenger at Arsenal – but how do the players feel about his imminent departure?
The likes of Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have all previously stated they joined Arsenal to work with Wenger, so one imagines they won’t be happy.
Well, according to The Sun, Wenger bizarrely revealed the news to his players in a squad meeting just minutes before the announcement was made public.
Arsenal’s players had no idea it was coming and weren’t given much of a heads up either, with the vast majority ‘shocked’ by Wenger’s last-minute revelation.
It’s a decision that will no doubt send shockwaves through the Gunners’ squad and place even more uncertainty on what the future holds for the club.
It will be interesting to see if Wenger’s departure convinces some of Arsenal’s players to follow suit, though it could all depend on the calibre of manager that’s brought in.