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20th Apr 2018

Jurgen Klopp reacts to Arsene Wenger announcing Arsenal departure

"I am surprised."

Ben Kiely

Before the big news broke, Jurgen Klopp wasn’t expecting to answer questions about Arsene Wenger at Friday’s press conference.

It’s official. Arsene Wenger has announced that he will leave Arsenal at the end of the 2017/18 season. The Frenchman made the revelation in a statement on Friday.

In his 22 years at the Gunners, Wenger established himself as the club’s most successful manager in terms of major titles won. Arsenal won seven FA Cups and three Premier League titles under the Wenger era. He is also credited with revolutionising English football by introducing changes in the training and diet of players.

Since the bombshell was dropped, there has been an outpouring of tributes to the longest-serving Arsenal manager.

Jurgen Klopp faced the media just after the announcement was made. During the pre-match press conference for Liverpool vs West Brom, Klopp admitted being caught off guard by the announcement. Although he addressed his recent poor form, Klopp had nothing but good things to say about the man who was ‘a big role model in Germany.’

“I am surprised. It is his decision. I respect that. He is an influence in football. Had a fantastic career. Outstanding personality.”

“He was there for so long, 22 years is a long time. Maybe in last few months not everybody was happy with this result or that.”

“He was the dominating guy in mid 1990s, 2000s. It is different now because we have to challenge but in Germany he was a big role model.”

“It will be different. Maybe he will go somewhere else. I wish him all the best.”

Former club captain Patrick Vieira is the bookies’ favourite to succeed Wenger. Carlo Ancelotti, Joachim Low, Thomas Tuchel, Brendan Rodgers and Massimiliano Allegri are also high up in the odds columns.