Arsene Wenger will finally bring his 22-year stay as Arsenal manager to a close at the end of the season, the Frenchman announced yesterday.
“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,” Wenger said in a statement posted on the club’s website.
“I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years.”
Wenger, 68, won three Premier League titles, leading the only side to go a full league season unbeaten in 2003-04, and lifted seven FA Cups during his tenure.
However, he has been under increasing pressure to step down from the club’s fans for several seasons as Arsenal haven’t won the Premier League for 14 years and risk missing out on Champions League qualification for the second consecutive season.
Arsenal’s only realistic chance of making the Champions League next season is by winning the Europa League where the Gunners face Spanish giants Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals on April 27 and May 4.
Arsenal legend Nwankwo Kanu has paid tribute to Wenger following his decision to step down at the end of the 2017-2018 season.
The Frenchman won ten trophies for the Gunners and the former Nigeria international helped him to achieve success, as he was part of the squads that won the Premier League titles in 2002 and 2004 and two FA Cups.
Writing on social media, Kanu stated: “Big shoes for anyone to fill, playing for Arsenal under Arsene was one of the best period of my career, 2 premiership, 2 FA cups.
“The Invincible, playing with some of the best assembled players, influencing millions of fans in Africa to support this great club.”
After spending five years at Arsenal, Kanu transferred to West Brom before moving to Portsmouth.
The ex-Ajax Amsterdam striker did not pick up any European silverware during his time with the Gunners, but played in the final of the 2000 UEFA Cup against Galatasaray.
His old rival, Sir Alex Ferguson said: “I am really happy for Arsene Wenger. I have great respect for him and for the job he has done at Arsenal. It is great testament to his talent, professionalism and determination that has been able to dedicate 22 years of his life to a job that he loves.