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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to step down at the end of the season

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has announced he will step down from the club at the end of the season.

He said in a statement:

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. 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.

Wenger has been at the helm since 1996, going on to become Arsenal's longest-serving manager and most successful in terms of major titles won.

The Frenchman has overseen Arsenal's famous Invincibles 2003-04 season, regaining the Premier League without a single defeat.

The team went on a run of 49 league games unbeaten before it came to an end in a 2-0 defeat at Manchester United in 2004.

A 22-year career as Arsenal manager has come with 10 major trophies and overseeing more than 800 Premier League games, but Wenger will now leave a year before his contract was due to expire.

The Gunners are currently sixth in the league and set to miss out on a top four spot for the second season on the trot, with their hopes of taking part in next season's Champions League resting on winning the Europa League.

Arsenal majority shareholder Stan Kroenke said Wenger had transformed the identity of the club, and of English football with his vision "for how the game can be played".

He said:

This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport. One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsène has brought to the club on and off the pitch. His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched.

He added: "We have high ambitions to build on Arsènes remarkable tenure and to honour his vision by ensuring that Arsenal competes for and wins the biggest and most important prizes in the game."

Read more: Gunners lose fifth away game in row as Newcastle seal survival

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