Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has announced that he will step down from the role he has occupied since 1996 at the end of the season.
“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 posted on the club’s official website.
“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.”
The club said Wenger will remain in charge until the end of the season and that a new manager will be appointed “as soon as possible.”
Majority owner Stan Kroenke called it “one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport.”
The American added: “We have high ambitions to build on Arsene’s remarkable tenure and to honour his vision by ensuring that Arsenal competes for and wins the biggest and most important prizes in the game.
“We must now focus on making a strong finish to the season and ask our millions of fans around the world to join us in paying appropriate tribute to one of the greats of Arsenal’s history and one of the greats of the game.”