It was inevitable, and one day soon it was going to happen. But I think many of us that day were still stunned into shock when the inevitable became reality.
In what was a shock announcement on the Friday morning ahead Arsenal’s Premier League clash with West Ham, Wenger confirmed that he will leave the club.
“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,” Wenger said in a statement.
The timing of the announcement immediately raised eyebrows, with Wenger holding his weekly press conference less than 24 hours before, without making any comments towards his imminent departure.
It also came six days before arguably the Gunners’ biggest game of the season – Europa League semi-final first leg against Atletico Madrid – with Wenger and his players already 14 points behind North London rivals Tottenham and out of the top four in the Premier League table.
Wenger left Arsenal, having won three Premier League titles while at the helm of the north London club, the last of which came as a result of the unbeaten 'Invincibles' season in 2003/04. He also departed as the most successful manager in the history of the FA Cup, winning the competition seven times.
Wenger signed a two-year contract a year before his unexpected resignation announcement, but his final few years were plagued by fan protests against his reign, feeling a change was needed at the club.
One potential reason for his surprise decision to step away was a ploy to get the fans onside to help Arsenal win the Europa League and end his tenure on a high. Wenger’s final few days were seen as a celebration of his career in North London, however, that European title alluded him, as his boys in red and white failed to get past Atletico.