Arsene Wenger asked Arsenal to hold off announcing his decision to leave the club so he could inform his players first-hand.
The 68-year-old will step down as Arsenal boss at the end of the season after more than 21 years in the role.
The news was announced on Friday morning, with Wenger set to depart 12 months into a two-year deal.
Press Association Sport understands Wenger was keen to tell the Arsenal players himself and did so ahead of training at their London Colney base and minutes before the news was made public by the club.
His coaching staff were also informed of the decision in advance, although club staff working at the Emirates Stadium rather than the training ground discovered the news at the same time as everyone else.
Wenger’s surprise announcement came a day after he evaded questions over his future at his usual pre-match press conference.
Club captain Per Mertesacker admitted it was “emotional” to find out that Wenger was set to depart.
“We have just been informed basically,” he told the club’s official website.
“It is quite emotional. Obviously he has been at the club for such a long time, he has been so supportive to me. One major reason why I’m here is because of him.
“It’s been emotional and there will be time to digest it but it is a sad feeling right now.”
Mertesacker isn't the only current Arsenal player to react to the news, however, with a few faces taking to Twitter to praise the Frenchman.
Below you can see the tributes some current Arsenal players have made towards Wenger, as he enters the final few months at the Emirates Stadium.
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