Date: 20th April 2018 at 9:31am
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Arsène Wenger will leave Arsenal at the end of the season.

The 68-year-old will end a near 22-year reign at the Premier League club, having been appointed Gunners manager back in October 1996.

He will depart the Emirates Stadium upon the conclusion of the current 2017-18 campaign, a year before his contract was due to expire.

Arsenal currently sit sixth in the English top-flight standings, 14 points adrift of the top four and North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, but face Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Europa League semi-finals next week.

Wenger, who previously managed Nancy, AS Monaco and Nagoya Grampus, has won 17 honours at Arsenal – three Premier League titles, seven FA Cups and seven FA Community Shields.

In a statement on the club’s official website, Wenger said, “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.

“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.

“I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special.

“I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high.

“To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club.

“My love and support for ever.”

Wenger during his first press conference as Arsenal manager back in 1996.

The Premier League’s longest-serving manager, having managed a record 823 games, Wenger led Arsenal through the entire 2003-04 league campaign unbeaten, as his ‘Invincibles’ side went 49 games unbeaten.

Arsenal’s majority owner, Stan Kroenke, added, “This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport.

“One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsène 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.

“Arsène has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude.

“Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record.

“He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played.

Arsenal celebrate winning the 2003-04 Premier League title having gone the entire league season unbeaten.

“We have high ambitions to build on Arsène’s remarkable tenure and to honour his vision by ensuring that Arsenal competes for and wins the biggest and most important prizes in the game.

“We must now focus on making a strong finish to the season and ask our millions of fans around the world to join us in paying appropriate tribute to one of the greats of Arsenal’s history and one of the greats of the game.”

Arsenal host London rivals West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League on Sunday (13:30).

Written by Dan Church

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