Arsenal have confirmed that manager Arsene Wenger will leave his role as Arsenal manager at the end of the season.
Wenger, who has come under increasing pressure as a result of Arsenal’s poor Premier League record in recent seasons, announced that he would be leaving the club in an emotional statement on the club’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,” the statement continued. “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.”
Wenger was appointed as Arsenal manager in 1996 and has won three Premier League titles and a record seven FA Cups during his time in charge of the club. A European trophy has always eluded him but Arsenal are in the semi-finals of the Europa League, where they face Atletico Madrid.
The Frenchman joined Arsenal after a spell with Grampus Eight in Japan and set about revolutionising Arsenal, and English football, with new coaching and preparatory approaches, allied with a highly successful scouting and recruitment strategy, which propelled Arsenal to the double in 1997-98.
Two more league titles followed, including one unbeaten in 2003-04, but a lean decade following the move to Emirates Stadium left fans frustrated. Three FA Cups in four years between 2014 and 2017 helped to stave off some criticism but underperformance in the Premier League saw his authority come into question.
Chief executive Ivan Gazidis spoke last season about poor performances being a “catalyst for change” and Arsenal began their succession planning by bringing in head of recruitment Sven Mislintat and head of football relations Raul Sanllehi earlier this year.
But the club have not yet announced a decision on a successor for Wenger, with a statement on the official Arsenal website saying:
“Arsène will lead the team to the end of the season and we will make an appointment as soon as possible. The club will not be making any further comment on the selection process until an appointment is made.”