End of an Era… #WengerOut

Arsene Wenger announced today that he would be stepping down as manager of Arsenal at the end of the season, putting an end to his 22-year reign at the club, despite having another year on his contract.

Despite a hugely successful career with the London club, breaking records as the Premier League’s longest-serving manager and having taken charge of 823 games, recent years have been arguably more turbulent.

Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Newcastle marked the 11th loss for Arsenal in the league this season, matching their most losses in any campaign under Wenger. In addition, the 33 points between them and Premier League winners Manchester City has seen fans call for change, in order to compete for the top spots again.

Looking unlikely to reach a top four position for the second season in a row, the pressure is on as winning the Europa League is now Arsenal’s only chance to reach the Champions League.

Wenger, who has won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups in his time with the Gunners, said: “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. To all the Arsenal lovers, take care of the values of the club.”

Stan Kroenke explained that the news of Wenger’s departure was a sad one, and that his work at the club had been invaluable. He described it as “one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport”, adding “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.”

Questions now turn to who will manage Arsenal next, with Borussia Dortmund’s Thomas Tuchel being linked with the job and Wenger previously hinting that former midfielder Patrick Vieria “has the potential” to succeed him.

The next season will certainly be a huge one in the history of Arsenal, with the appointment of the next manager expected before long.