Arsene Wenger’s long reign as Arsenal manager will end next month.
The 68-year-old announced on Friday that he will step down at the end of the season.
The Frenchman moved to Highbury back in 1996 and delivered some of the best football the early Premier League had seen as he led Arsenal to three titles during his tenure.
The unbeaten ‘Invincibles’ season of 2003-04 will forever be remembered, but that would deliver the last of those league crowns, as a fallow period followed.
Moving to the state-of-the-art Emirates Stadium tightened the purse strings as Arsenal were caught and surpassed by the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City – the newly-crowned champions a massive 33 points clear of the Gunners at the time of Wenger’s surprise announcement.
His position has come under intense scrutiny over the past 18 months due to repeated failings in the Premier League and Champions League.
Wenger has lifted the FA Cup in three of the last four seasons, but that has not been enough to appease some supporters.
The club are set to compete against Atletico Madrid in the Europa League semi-finals next week.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Speaking on Thursday at his usual pre-match press conference, Wenger evaded further questions on his future and insisted his main concern was finishing the season strongly.
Arsenal have won just seven away matches on the road in all competitions this season.
He was handed a new two-year deal last summer amid a groundswell of supporters calling for him to leave but failed to deliver the mandate of building a “sustained title challenge”.
He will now be hoping to go out on a high with Europa League glory, as majority shareholder Stan Kroenke paid tribute to the outgoing boss – before insisting the club will build on what he leaves behind.
So, the big question, who are the favourites to replace Arsene Wenger at the Emirates Stadium?
Well, according to Sky Bet, former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is one of the frontrunners, with his odds being a short 3/1.
However, the favourite is former skipper Patrick Vieira, who is currently 2/1 to take the job.
Other names include: Thomas Tuchel (5/1), Joachim Loew (7/1), Massimilliano Allegri (7/1), Carlo Ancelotti (8/1), Leonardo Jardim (12/1), Eddie Howe (14/1), Luis Enrique (14/1), and Diego Simeone (16/1)
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms