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21st Apr 2018

Here’s how the Arsenal players reacted when Arsene Wenger told them he is leaving the club

"I have bad news for you. I'm leaving the club at the end of the season"

Robert Redmond

After almost 22 years as manager, Arsene Wenger announced on Friday that he is leaving Arsenal at the end of the season.

The Frenchman will be remembered as the best manager in Arsenal’s history. He guided them to three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups, and his early teams played some of the best football ever witnessed in English football.

Arsenal have stagnated in recent seasons and a change was much-needed at the club. Crowds at the Emirates have declined, the team won’t finish in the top four and they are currently 33 points behind champions Manchester City. However, now that Wenger has announced he is leaving, Arsenal supporters will rally around their legendary manager and give him the send-off he deserves.

The club can still win the Europa League and face a difficult semi-final against Atletico Madrid.

Wenger reportedly decided to walk away before the club’s board took the decision to sack him in the summer. He has seen his power eroded in recent months following the appointment of Sven Mislintat as “head of recruitment.” Wenger previously had complete control over transfers.

According to Matt Hughes, writing in The Times, Wenger was “effectively forced out” of Arsenal, as the board would have sacked him at the end of the season had he not chosen to resign. He informed the board on Thursday that he was walking away from the club before breaking the news to his staff and players the next day.

The report claims:

  • Wenger told his coaching staff at 9:30 am on Friday morning. He then had an “emotional” meeting with the Arsenal players 15 minutes later. The news became public soon after.
  • In the meeting with the players, most of the squad were “shocked” by the announcement. He kept it brief, saying: “I have bad news for you. I’m leaving the club at the end of the season.”
  • Some of the players were reportedly “close to tears.”
  • Per Mertesacker, the club captain, who Wenger brought to Arsenal back in 2011, is said to have “made a rousing speech in tribute” to his departing boss.
  • The players and staff are both said to have vowed to win the Europa League for Wenger

Luis Enrique, the former Barcelona manager, Celtic coach Brendan Rodgers, Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim and Germany manager Joachim Low are said to be among those in contention to become the next Arsenal manager.

Mertesacker spoke about Wenger’s departure soon after the announcement was made on Friday morning.