Arsenal fans are coming to terms with the shock news that Arsene Wenger will leave the club at the end of the season.
The veteran French coach has decided to call time on his 22-year spell with Arsenal, who currently sit sixth in the Premier League table with five matches of the season left to play.
Although Arsenal will not secure a top-four finish this season, they will still qualify for the Champions League if they win the Europa League. The Gunners are preparing to face Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals, with the first leg taking place on April 26.
"I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years," Wenger said in a statement on Arsenal’s website. "I managed the club with full commitment and integrity.
"To all the Arsenal lovers, take care of the values of the club."
Arsenal, meanwhile, have confirmed that a successor will be appointed “as soon as possible”.
Patrick Vieira is currently the bookies’ favourite, followed by Joachim Low, Thomas Tuchel, Carlo Ancelotti, Brendan Rodgers and Leonardo Jardim.
Arsenal fans have been paying tribute to Wenger
In the meantime, Arsenal fans have been paying tribute to the club’s longest-serving manager on social media.
Many supporters have been eagerly waiting for this moment for several years now - change was undoubtedly necessary following several disappointing campaigns - but that hasn’t stopped them from feeling a sense of sadness now that the news has finally been announced.
One of the first former Arsenal players to pay tribute to Wenger is a man who many Gooners dislike.
However, Cesc Fabregas may have regained their respect after the classy message that he posted about Wenger on Instagram on Friday.
Fabregas's message about Wenger
“Wow. I never expected that but it shows the great dignity and class of the man,” the Chelsea midfielder commented. “I will never forget his guidance and support, his tutelage and mentorship.
“He had faith in me from day one and I owe him a lot, he was like a father figure to me who always pushed me to be the best. Arsene, you deserve all the respect and happiness in the world. #classact 🙏🏻”
What a lovely message from Fabregas who, by all accounts, wanted to return to Arsenal after leaving Barcelona in 2014.
It was Wenger who reportedly decided that he didn’t need Fabregas at the time, so the Spaniard opted to move to Chelsea instead.
Cesc clearly hasn’t held a grudge with Wenger over that decision. He still has huge respect for the 68-year-old and rightly so.
He might not have achieved half as much during his illustrious career without him.
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