Arsenal Boss tells stunned players and staff ‘I have bad news’ before announcing he will walk away after 22 years as he pens emotional farewell to fans: ‘My love and support for ever’
- Arsene Wenger joined from Nagoya Grampus Eight all the way back in 1996
- He has guided Arsenal to three Premier League titles and seven FA Cup wins
- Wenger stunned the Arsenal players, telling them the news out of the blue
- Leading candidates to replace him include Thomas Tuchel and Joachim Low
- Wenger’s shock announcement divided Arsenal supporters on social media
Arsene Wenger shocked Arsenal players on Friday after announcing that he will finally step down as manager at the end of the season after 22 years in charge.
The 68-year-old Frenchman, who joined Arsenal from Nagoya Grampus Eight all the way back in 1996, stunned players and staff, telling them about his departure completely out of the blue at the club’s London Colney training base. He introduced the sudden revelation by telling them ‘I have bad news’, before captain Per Mertesacker addressed his team-mates.
Wenger’s announcement also divided Arsenal fans, with many thanking him for his time in charge – while others posted messages saying good riddance.
Sportsmail understands that the club are looking to Germany for Wenger’s replacement. Former Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel and Germany boss Joachim Low are among the frontrunners. However, the board are also understood to like Brendan Rodgers.
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Wenger penned an emotional statement to Arsenal supporters on Friday morning as he announced his departure, offering them ‘my love and support for ever’.
Wenger dropped the bombshell ahead of Arsenal’s Premier League clash with West Ham at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon. There has been open unrest at the Emirates in recent years following the Frenchman’s failure to win the league title since 2004. He has however won 10 major trophies during his time in north London and will be remembered as the club’s greatest ever manager.
He told Arsenal’s official website: ‘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 for ever.’
Sportsmail understands Arsenal’s shell-shocked players reacted to Wenger’s news by making a pact together to send him out in a blaze of glory by winning the Europa League. They face Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals, with the first-leg taking place at home next Thursday.
Wenger’s backroom staff, including the long-standing Gerry Peyton, Boro Primorac and Tony Colbert are expected to go. However, assistant manager Steve Bould could still be kept on.
Tuchel is the bookies’ favourite to take over from Wenger in the summer. The 44-year-old German is highly regarded internationally and is without a club after leaving Dortmund last year.
Arsenal’s links to Dortmund have grown strong in recent years with the German club’s former recruitment guru Sven Mislintat taking up a similar role at the Emirates last November. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was signed from Dortmund in January for £57million, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan is also a former Dortmund man.
Credit to Daily Mail.