English Premiership

Tributes pour in for Wenger: 'We owe him so much'

2018-04-20 14:49
Arsene Wenger (Supplied)

Cape Town - Tributes have been pouring in from the football world after Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger announced his decision to step down from the club at the end of the current season.

The French head coach, who has been in charge of the Gunners for 22 years has long been mulling his future with the north London side.

He was expected to stand down at the end of last season but signed a new two year deal, and leaves with a year left to run on his contract.

Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson told Sky Sports: "He knew every player in the world. He could see a player, he knew every player in the world.

"I just hope the stadium is packed for the last game to pay him the right respect."

Ex Gunners' striker John Hartson added: "I can’t say I am too surprised, I think it was coming wasn’t it? There have been calls from the Arsenal supporters in particular for him to go, with many of them calling for it for five or six years.

"But if he had gone then there wouldn’t have been three FA Cups in the cabinet, which is what he has won in the last four years.

"I think it’s the right time, it would always have been good if Arsene left on his terms at what he felt was the right time and he’s been able to do that.

“Now Arsenal will be busy looking for another top manager; looking to be somewhere near as successful as Arsene has been in his 22-year tenure as Arsenal manager."

Mark Hughes, meanwhile, spoke about his relationship with Wenger.

"I've had more time in the Premier League than most so our paths crossed on numerous occasions. It was all sunshine and light - we had a couple of run-ins but other times we were civil and respectful of each other's efforts.

"We had a good conversation a couple of weeks ago when we played at the Emirates. He seemed very relaxed and chilled and maybe he understood that the announcement would be made but he looked in good form and seemed happy with his own personal circumstances that day.

"Maybe that was because he knew what is coming. I wish him well."

And Neil Warnock added: "He's the man who changed the whole face of the game.

"We owe him so much, yet have given him so much stick. In a way I'm glad he's going, I wouldn't want to see him get any more vitriol than he's had."

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