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English Premier League

‘Grateful’ Arsene Wenger to step down as Arsenal manager after 22 trophy-laden years

Gunners boss managed more than 800 English Premier League games, winning 10 trophies and overseeing move from Highbury to the Emirates

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 April, 2018, 5:04pm
UPDATED : Friday, 20 April, 2018, 10:19pm

Long-serving Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that he will step down from his position as manager at the English Premier League side at the end of the current season next month, bringing to an end his 22 years as manager.

The news was announced at a press conference which took place at 10am UK time (5pm Hong Kong time).

Wenger guided the Gunners to 10 trophies in his time at the club, winning the Premier League three times including the “Invincibles” season of 2003/04 when the team took the title without losing a game.

“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 at the press conference.

“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.”

The Frenchman arrived in England from Japanese J.League side Nagoya Grampus Eight in 1996 and was mocked for his professorial style. The relative unknown quickly established himself as a force to be reckoned with and soon locked horns with Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson.

The pair would go head to head for the title on several occasions, while also meeting in the domestic cups and Uefa Champions League as the two sides became the pre-eminent forces in English football.

He also oversaw the club’s move from Highbury to their new Emirates Stadium.

Wenger will retire after more than 800 Premier League games and having been one match away from securing the North London club their first ever Champions League victory.

He also coached the club to seven FA Cup victories, including last year’s 2-1 win over Chelsea. The trophy laden two decades could yet end with European glory as Arsenal face Atletico Madrid for a place in this season’s Europa League final.

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“This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport,” said Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke.

“One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsene 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.

“Arsene 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.”

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The bookmakers have installed former Arsenal players Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry, both members of the Invincibles, as among the favourites to replace Wenger.

The list is rounded out by Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers, Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone and Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri.