The Gunners confirmed on Friday that Wenger would be leaving at the end of the campaign in a statement on their official website. Speaking later in the day at a press conference, Gazidis said they've yet to consider any replacements, per Chris Wheatley of Goal:
Oliver Kay of the Times relayed more from Gazidis on the steps Arsenal will now take:
The announcement from Arsenal regarding Wenger was a seismic one, as the Frenchman has been at the club for almost 22 years. In his time as boss, Wenger steered the team to three Premier League titles and seven FA Cup wins.
Although Gazidis wouldn't disclose much regarding the search for a new manager, as we can see courtesy of Gunnerblog's James McNicholas, he did provide some details on the type of coach the club will be looking for:
Here's what Gazidis had to say in full, per the Arsenal Twitter account:
The influence Wenger has had on Arsenal, the Premier League and English football as a whole has been profound, especially in the early days of his tenure in north London.
As such, he's closely associated to the football club and is undoubtedly an enormous figure at the Emirates Stadium, regardless of the downturn in form the team has endured in the Premier League in recent seasons.
A replacement will be tough to find. As noted by author David Tossell, in the past Arsenal aren't a club that have done things as expected:
The landscape of football has shifted dramatically during Wenger's mammoth stint at Arsenal, and it'd be a huge surprise if we were to see another coach match the longevity of someone like him or former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
It makes the job of the man following the main man all the more difficult, something that David Moyes discovered in 2013-14 when he replaced Ferguson at United and was sacked before the end of the campaign. Barney Ronay of the Guardian expects something similar at Arsenal:
Wenger will be keen to sign off his spell at Arsenal by accomplishing something he's yet to achieve in his time at the club—winning a European trophy. They meet Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League in the coming weeks.
It's a competition the Gunners will likely play in again next season unless they're able to win it and book their place in the UEFA Champions League instead. Dealing with the rigours of Europe's second-tier tournament, as well everything else that accompanies succeeding a man like Wenger, makes the job a huge challenge for the next boss.