The Inside Story: Why Wenger Retired & What Happened in the Moments Leading Up to His Announcement

Even the most vocal of #WengerOut advocates must have been shocked to learn that the Arsenal manager would indeed call curtains on his lengthy stint as coach this Friday. 

And according to an exclusive story in the ​Mirror, the players – who were only apprised of the decision shortly before the official ​statement was released – were blown away by the news as well.

Newcastle United v Arsenal - Premier League

The Frenchman broke the news to his squad just before 10am on Friday morning at the club’s training base in Colney.

He had been discussing a potential exit with the club for several weeks, but it managed to remain secret until Friday morning, when his players and staff were assembled to be informed of the development.

The players, training ground staff, coaches and members of the medical team gathered round as the manager carefully chose his words to deliver a terse statement that was met by disbelief and stunned silence.

“We’ve got a season to finish, trophy to win and I’m going to go and do this press conference,” he said at the end.

Team captain Per Mertesacker was the first to break out of the trance. “Let’s do Wenger proud,” he declared as he stood up to deliver the rallying words.

The German would later give an interview, revealing his sadness and asking that the team give their all for the veteran coach, who won’t be with them next season.

“It was emotional [when Wenger made his speech]. It’s a sad feeling right now,” he said. “He is the major figure of the club for [over] 20 years.

“The final games under him will be emotional but we will give our all. We want to make things happen, to win every single game, to fight for this guy because he has brought so much to the club.

“It’s an honour to be involved in his last games and I say on behalf of the whole team, we will fight for every single day to make this season a success story in terms of lifting a title.

“We want to give Arsene Wenger a farewell story that no-one will forget.”

The Mirror are also reporting that the manager had been discussing the future with Arsenal’s major shareholder Stan Kroenke as there was major concern over the number of fans who were choosing to stay away from games.

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Ticket sales had plummeted and surprised supporters were even receiving calls asking if they were interested in becoming season ticket holders, despite the eight-year waiting list.

So after long drawn-out discussions, Wenger finally decided that the best thing for the club would be for him to leave and he signed an agreement after a board meeting on Thursday.

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The timing of the announcement is understood to have been a well-calculated one as the club wanted to galvanise the players for a run at the Europa League trophy. It was also done this way to give them enough time to source and confirm a replacement for the 68-year-old coach.

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Why it’s the Right Time for Arsène Wenger to Leave Arsenal After 22 Years

In the life of Arsène Wenger and his connection with Arsenal football club, there have been times of pure ecstasy and utter sadness. Today is the latter. ​It’s the end of a 22-year journey that started in 1996, with many asking Arsene who?

When this unknown French manager – who coached the likes of Glen Hoddle and George Weah – arrived from Japanese side Nagoya Grampus Eight, the appointment caused a reaction of bemusement.

Arsene Wenger the new Arsenal manager

In the first decade of his career as manager of the Gunners, Le Professeur proved each one of his doubters wrong. “We want our mars bars!” chanted the first team players as this economics graduate turned their focus from the Tuesday club to double winners in Wenger’s first full season.

Prolonging the careers of a great English backline while adding the steel of Patrick Vieira and the searing pace of Thierry Henry, they created a rivalry with Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United, which provided some tasty battles both on and off the pitch.

Roy Keane

Wenger was ferociously competitive, backed up his self-belief with titles and developed a ​swashbuckling brand of European football that this country had never seen. In stark contrast to the present day, where has that enthusiasm and bravado gone?

He looks a shadow of the former man who created the Invincibles, a distant memory of the double-winning coach who clinched the Premier League at Old Trafford and even the boss who guided Arsenal to the Champions League final in 2006.

Arsenal's French coach Arsene Wenger loo

For his own health, the half-empty stadiums and a stagnating side who have continually made a mockery of themselves since moving to the Emirates, a change is needed and Wenger had to leave before all the good work he has done in his first ten years is completely forgotten.

Not just for the future of this club, the present day Arsenal requires urgent TLC because the traditions of the club are going down the drain. Through it all Wenger has remained class personified, never speaking ill of the club he loves, serving for 22 years with such loyalty, commitment and bravery.

West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal - Premier League

​A man who somehow managed to balance the books through such turmoil. Guiding the Gunners year after year into the Champions League while navigating a move to the Emirates was a miracle. Especially when you consider the emergence of clubs like Manchester City and Chelsea, who had no such qualms about using money outside their means.

Wenger deserves a standing ovation in his final game, a pat on the back for turning away suitors like Real Madrid and PSG in his prime. His work helped to build the Emirates Stadium, which at the very least deserves a statue. He had to leave because no man should take that abuse after a life-long affair with the club.

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Now that his future is no longer a talking point and Arsenal is searching for a new manager, the club can focus on results. Wenger could not serve out the final year, even if he proudly states he always honours his contracts. The impending match against Atletico Madrid now has even greater significance. Not only is it the only chance to get back into the Champions League next year – it could also be Wenger’s saving grace and the greatest parting gift from the players, who have played poorly for too long.

At the start of Wenger’s tenure, the Gunners at the very least challenged for the Premier League but in recent times, they have been lucky to get fourth place. Wenger rarely adjusts for the opposition – which demonstrates his stubborn nature – while he looks bereft of ideas and very rarely if ever, makes a half-time substitute based on a tactical decision. Countless embarrassing defeats have rapidly aged the poor man, who often shouldered the burden of millions of fans on his own.

The scoreboard displays the 8-2 score-li

The board of directors hide behind their yearly AGMs, owner Stan Kroenke is a ghost who only appears for cup finals and the club needs serious rebuilding from top to bottom. If Wenger really cared about the club and his own pride, he should have left long ago. Just look at the results in recent years, 8-2 against Manchester United in 2011 springs to mind. That was one of the worst Arsenal displays in his tenure and yet the recent defeat to Newcastle looks just as embarrassing.

Their league form has deteriorated and they are now closer to Burnley then champions Manchester City. For a side of Arsenal’s stature, that is not on and Wenger must take much of the blame.

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Many may think its poor timing from the board and the wily old boss to hand in his resignation on the eve of such a huge match against Atletico Madrid, but that should serve as a reminder that every good beginning must have an end.

Whoever the new manager may be; whether it’s Vieira, the experience of Carlo Ancelotti or the charisma of Diego Simeone, this timely announcement should give the club a new focus, allow the replacement the time to rebuild in the summer and bring in his own signings.


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Wenger’s departure should galvanise the fans into backing Arsenal once again, give the much-maligned Frenchman the send-off he deserves and let the players know that they have to fight for the cause. To save what is left of his legacy, the Europa League can allow Wenger the dignity of a goodbye for all the work and sacrifice he has given the club while ushering in a new manager for a new beginning. 

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Arsene Wenger’s Greatest XI – A Look Back at the Best Players to Ever Represent the Frenchman

Arsene Wenger has announced he is finally ready to call time on an illustrious Arsenal career, that has seen him collect 17 major honours. 

The club has been caught in regression for a while, with the Gunners certain to miss out on Champions League football for a second successive season.

Certain big money signings haven’t impressed of late, but that shouldn’t undermine the excellent job Wenger has done recruiting and nurturing talent over the past 22 years. 

They haven’t all be Marouane Chamakh’s and Emmanuel Frimpong’s, here’s Arsene Wenger’s greatest XI:   

1. Jens Lehmann

In Cech, Wenger probably has his best keeper since the German departed North London in 2008; there was none better than Lehmann for Arsenal though. Playing every game in the fabled ‘Invincibles’ season, Lehamnn also has the honour of holding the Champions League record for most consecutive clean sheets. Going 10 straight matches without conceding for the Gunners, en-route to their first and only Champions League final to date.  

2. Lauren

Another Invincible, Lauren was a mainstay throughout the most profitable part of Wenger’s Arsenal career. Between 2000 and 2006, Lauren helped Wenger to two league titles, three FA Cups and two FA Community Shields. Injuries played a part in Lauren’s first season at Arsenal, but it wouldn’t take the dynamic full back long to displace fellow Arsenal hero, Lee Dixon, once fit again. 

3. Tony Adams

Wenger may not have signed Adams, but he would play an instrumental role in the formative years of Wenger’s side. Already a club legend, the Arsenal captain was no stranger to silverware but his career was in doubt having endured battles his drinking. Wenger opted to stand by Adams, helping improve his fitness and diet, Adams repaid his new mentor, captaining Arsenal to two League and Cup doubles. Adams remains the only player in history to captain a title-winning side, in three different decades. 

4. Kolo Toure

Toure has enjoyed a storied career at some of Britain’s biggest clubs, having also represented Manchester City, Liverpool and Celtic. The highlight of his career came at Arsenal, featuring heavily in both the ‘Invincibles’ and Champions League final squads. Famed for his powerful bursts from the back line, quickly converting defence into attack, Toure was pivotal to the formation and success of Arsenal, during his time there. 

5. Ashley Cole

Controversial maybe, considering the manor of his departure and the fact that he went on to play the majority of his career at bitter rivals Chelsea. Cole would prove arguably the greatest ever English full-back, a key part of both Arsenal and Chelsea’s purple patches, winning an incredible 16 honours with the two sides. He would also go on to get his hands on a trophy Wenger had long coveted but would never lift, winning the Champions League with Chelsea in 2012. 

6. Patrick Viera

Captain of the ‘Invincibles’, Wenger won more in the nine years Viera was a part of his team than he did in the 13 years without him. Helping Wenger to all three of his Premier League titles to date, Viera was one of the best midfield enforcers to ever grace the Premier League. Many fans point to his departure as the beginning of the end for Arsenal, certainly Wenger has never had another as good as Viera in the middle.  

7. Mesut Ozil

He may not always be a fan favourite but the stats don’t lie, Mesut Ozil has been a phenomenal addition for Arsenal. A World Cup winner, Ozil has bagged 24 goals and 50 assists for the Gunners in his five seasons at the club. He is the lynchpin in Arsenal’s current attack, everything positive often goes through him. Leading the club to a small resurgence in recent seasons and helping Wenger to his first major honour in eight years.

8. Gilberto Silva

Aftering featuring in all of Brazil’s matches during their triumphant 2002 World Cup run, Wenger was convinced to sign Silva. Often one of Arsenal’s more underrated legends, Silva also had an integral role to play in both the ‘Invincibles’ and Champions League final squads. A tough-tackling midfield anchor, Silva was also no stranger to finding the back of the net, scoring several vital goals in his time, including the first ever goal at the Emirates stadium.  

9. Dennis Bergkamp

The ‘Non-Flying Dutchman’ may have had a tough time getting to some of Arsenal’s games but he always delivered for the club. A serial winner, his eleven year stay in North London, for a long time, covered the entirety of Arsene Wenger’s trophy cabinet. A total 120 goals in all competitions helped Wenger to his first eleven honours, it would take seven years following his departure for Arsene to win anything again. 

10. Ian Wright

Ian Wright was already an established legend at Highbury, with the talismanic striker hitting 144 goals over five years in North London, prior to Wenger’s arrival. Wright finished as Arsenal’s top scorer in Wenger’s first season, with a tally only second to Alan Shearer, securing third place and establishing the standard of top four finishes for 19 years to follow. Wright’s eleven goals also helped Wenger to a first league and cup double the following season, before departing for West Ham.

11. Thiery Henry

Arsenal and France’s all-time top scorer, Henry hit a resounding 228 goals for Arsenal across all competitions. A firm legend at the club, Henry even returned to his old side on short-term loan in 2012 to fill in for Arsenal’s strikers who were absent at the African Cup of Nations, and added to his Arsenal tally. He is expected to still have a future at the club haven taking his coaching badges, many bookies are even offering odds on him replacing Wenger this summer.  

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Former Arsenal Ace Tony Adams Makes Outrageous Claim Over Succeeding Wenger As Gunners Boss

​Former Arsenal defender Tony Adams has outrageously claimed that he wouldn’t be scared to take over from Arsène Wenger when the veteran boss finally calls time on his career managing the Gunners.

Speaking to ​Sky Sports, Adams claimed he would be cautious to take up the role if asked, but asserted that it wouldn’t be an opportunity that would frighten him. 

The 51-year-old said: “I am not sure I’d want to go next (at Arsenal) after Arsène – there might be a fallout and it might be complicated once he leaves. But I wouldn’t be afraid of it, that’s for sure.

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“The average career is about six months in the Championship and under a year in the Premier League, so why would you want to go into a job that lasts six months to a year and get everybody screaming at you thinking they can do better? Just because you have played the game for 40 years the fans think they know better, which is quite hard to take at times.”

Adams has had managerial stints with Wycombe Wanderers, Portsmouth, Granada and Azerbaijani side Gabala since swapping the pitch for the touchline, but has failed to find any real success as a coach. 

Discussing his tricky start to managing, the former England international said: “Maybe because I went to Wycombe that early and was perceived to be a failure, it can stand against you.

Arsenal v Leeds

“I didn’t know what it was like to play Wycombe vs. Darlington on a Tuesday night. If you have played at that level then fair enough. I found it a completely different world. You don’t know whether you are going to do an overnight stay, if you have the money or have to go up on the day.”

“The floodlights might go out, you meet on the matchday — those kinds of things. It was completely different. From my personal experience, it didn’t teach me anything to manage at Premier League level.”


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Meanwhile, ​the Gunners are thought to have pulled out of the race to sign Manchester United’s want-away forward Anthony Martial. The north Londoners are rumoured to be content with their current attacking options, and will instead look to bolster their defensive and midfield options ahead of a push for real improvement in the 2018/19 campaign.

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Arsenal Reportedly End Pursuit of Man Utd Attacker as Club Look to Strengthen Other Areas of Squad

​Arsenal are unlikely to follow up their January interest in ​Anthony Martial should the Frenchman leave Manchester United this summer, according to the ​Evening Standard. However, speculation persists over Martial’s future with the forward frustrated with the limited opportunities he has been getting at Old Trafford.

Following the January arrival of Alexis Sanchez the speculation has grown, with Arsene Wenger reportedly inquiring about the possibility of including either ​Martial or Henrikh Mkhitaryan as part of a swap deal for Sanchez. Wenger was told Martial would not be made available, and instead Arsenal got Mkhitaryan in the swap deal.

​​Mourinho and United’s stance on ​Martial’s future has reportedly changed since January with the relations between Martial and United boss Jose Mourinho having soured. Arsenal, Barcelona, ​Juventus, Inter and Atletico Madrid closely monitoring the situation.

Wenger remains an admirer of Martial having tracked the attacker since his Monaco days but Arsenal have spent big on ​Mkhitaryan, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette this season in a bid to bolster their attacking options and will now not be chasing attacker. 

The young Frenchman is valued at around £60m despite having just a year left on his contract and ​the Gunners are thought to have prioritised other areas to strengthen this summer.

Manchester United v Sevilla FC  - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg

Arsenal return to Premier League action on Sunday as they face a London derby against West Ham at the Emirates in what will be a big game, as both sides look to end their season on a high. ​Arsenal are still in the hunt for European glory, with the Gunners facing Atletico Madrid in the Europa League semi final.

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Martial and ​United, who sit second on the Premier League table after ​defeating Bournemouth 2-0 on Wednesday, face a FA Cup semi final clash against Spurs on Saturday, as their hunt for some domestic glory continues. 

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