After rendering 22 years service at Arsenal, Arsene Wenger will step down at the end of the season. He stands as an epitome of integrity and commitment. Such managerial longevity is something of a dream for modern day managers. Wenger has been the face of Arsenal football all these years.
It all started in 1996 when Arsenal signed the Frenchman who had just left his service at Nagoya Grampus, a Japanese club. Wenger stated in his unveiling that the love for English football was what made him consider a move to England. He didn’t get the warmest of the greetings with supporters asking: ‘Arsène who?‘. But he had a point to prove to the fans and football world.
Before his arrival Arsenal were criticized for a boring style of play. It was Wenger who changed all that. Brian Clough once quipped: “Arsenal caress a football the way I dreamed of caressing Marilyn Monroe.” Wenger himself reflected that his greatest legacy at Arsenal would be the style he implemented. Later he would make the same fans chant “Arsene knows” and “In Arsene we trust.”
His work is often seen as taking Arsenal from the cradle and making him a fine young man. The Emirates stadium which stands all glory was Wenger’s dream project and the way he managed the team after the financial debt arousing from it. He was the only manager to make profit out of transfers between 2004-2009. Among clubs lavishly selling out money Wenger competed with minimal financial resources and managed to finish top all the times. But he never complained above the clubs strategy such was his love for Arsenal.
In a glorious career of more than two decades, Wenger led Arsenal to 3 Premier League titles which includes the Golden Premier League of the Invincible season, 7 FA cups and 7 Community Shields.
His departure would be emotional for the Club, Players, Fans and English Football. Here we look at what the present and former players had to say about Arsene’s departure:
The club’s all-time highest goal scorer was all praise for Wenger’s ability to inspire young players.
“It’s a sad day for me. I am happy in a way that people are going to, hopefully, give him the exit he deserves … I remember when I used to play for Arsenal, people were talking about the way we were playing, how Arsene changed Arsenal into a well-recognized club in the world”
“He used to make you believe you were the best player in the world.”
“Let’s not get lost in celebrating the end of his era. The team has to win the Europa League, it would be an amazing achievement and Arsene has never won in Europe before, so it would be a great way to give him a good exit.”
The Captain of Wenger’s Premier League winning side in 1996 season claimed Wenger to be the greatest manager.
Adams wrote on Instagram:
“Thanks for everything Arsene. Move over Herbert (Chapman), Arsene Wenger the greatest Arsenal Manager.”
The winger claimed Arsene to be his second dad and reminisced the ways Wenger supported him when he moved in to the club.
He wrote on Instagram:
“A true gentleman of the game both on and off the pitch. Arsene you were more than a manager to me, almost a second dad. Moving to London on my own ,you tought me so much. The way you want to play football will always be remembered as legendary.”
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A true gentleman of the game both on and off the pitch. Arsene you were more than a manager to me almost a second dad. Moving to London on my own, you tought me so much. The way you want to play football will always be remembered as legendary! @arsenal #legend #arsenewenger
The right back went on to claim his misfortune of not playing games under him but how pivotal Wenger was in his life.
“This man just didn’t give me the opportunity to wear the Arsenal shirt…to discover the Premier League…to learn and improve by his side…BUT this man changed my life…I would always be grateful for what he has done for me and my family…especially when I was going through hard personal moments.”
Robin Van Persie
Van Persie thanked Wenger for believing in him and also claimed him to be one of greatest coach of all time.
He wrote on Instagram:
“Thanks Arsene for all your confidence in me over the years. You are a very special man & a top coach! Definitely one of the very best ever! I will always see you as my footballing father where under your guidance I had the chance to grow as a man and as a player, I’m forever thankful for that and wish you all the very best for the next chapter in your life!”
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Thanks Arsene for all your confidence in me over the years. You are a very special man & a top coach! Definitely one of the very best ever! I will always see you as my footballing father where under your guidance I had the chance to grow as a man and a player, i'm forever thankful for that and wish you all the very best for the next chapter in your life! #ThanksArsene #TheBoss
Flamini stated that the red army have lost their number one commander(Wenger) and that he was proud to have served under him.
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The Danish striker was all praise for Wenger about his Dedication and Strength and the way he revolutionized the game of football being played in the Premier League.
The German striker who played under Wenger acclaimed the 22 years service and that he was honored to learn from Wenger.
Mesut Ozil thanked Wenger for all he had done at Arsenal and for the footballing world. He added that Passion, Respect and Success are what Arsene was all about.