Arsene Wenger Confirms Summer Exit from Arsenal

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistApril 20, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 05: Head coach Arsene Wenger of Arsenal looks on prior the UEFA UEFA Europa League Quarter-Final first leg match between Arsenal FC and CSKA Moskva at Emirates Stadium on April 5, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Arsene Wenger will step down as manager of Arsenal this summer after 22 years at the club.

The Gunners released a statement via their official website on Friday that revealed this campaign would be Wenger's last as chief at the Emirates Stadium, and the Frenchman explained his decision to step down:

"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 68-year-old went on to thank all members of the "special" club he joined in October 1996, signing off: "To all the Arsenal lovers, take care of the values of the club. My love and support for ever."

Wenger's renown may no longer be what it once was, but Sky Sports Statto nodded to an elite top-flight record:

Arsenal are currently sixth in the Premier League, 14 points below North London rival Tottenham Hotspur in fourth. The Gunners face Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League, soon to be their last remaining route to next season's UEFA Champions League.

It would present Le Professeur with one final opportunity to recoup some of the prestige he enjoyed for much of his Arsenal tenure. Former ESPN journalist James Dall touched upon Wenger's marred legacy:

Last season's run to fifth in the Premier League saw Wenger finish outside the top four for the first time in his Arsenal career, and the same looks likely again.

Wenger has managed more Premier League games than any other person after overtaking Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson earlier this term. CNN's James Masters highlighted the void his departure could leave in England's top flight:

The Frenchman left Japanese club Nagoya Grampus Eight after 18 months to replace Bruce Rioch at Highbury in 1996, and the almost immediate effect he had in turning Arsenal's fortunes around was immense.

It took Wenger only a season to end the club's seven-year wait for a title, and they went on to finish in the Premier League's top two for eight successive seasons, winning it three times in that span. BT Sport put his feats into greater context:

The prospect of a new manager's arrival at the Emirates this summer is sure to excite many around the club. Many Arsenal supporters were vocal in their desire to see the manager step down for some time.

English football's landscape is sure to feel different once he departs. Before he does, Arsenal must prepare for an end-of-season run-in with a unique motivation to make the campaign a success.

Related

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Profiled 🔍

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Profiled 🔍

    Goal
    via Goal

    Man Utd Accidentally Announce Solskjaer, Then Delete Post

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Man Utd Accidentally Announce Solskjaer, Then Delete Post

    Goal
    via Goal

    Leicester and Man City Deliver the Worst Pen Shootout Ever 🎥

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Leicester and Man City Deliver the Worst Pen Shootout Ever 🎥

    reddit
    via reddit

    Dortmund Stunned by Dusseldorf for 1st Loss

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Dortmund Stunned by Dusseldorf for 1st Loss

    Goal
    via Goal