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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Arsenal and Arsene Wenger ridiculed after manager's U-turn over 'timing' remarks

Club issues statement explaining that when Wenger said timing of departure had not been his, he was talking about when it was announced and not saying he had been forced out

<p>Arsene Wenger&#39;s final challenge as Arsenal manager would be to win the Europa League title. Neil Hall / EPA</p>
<p>Arsene Wenger&#39;s final challenge as Arsenal manager would be to win the Europa League title. Neil Hall / EPA</p>

Arsene Wenger and Arsenal have been ridiculed in the British media after the Premier League giants issued two statements late Wednesday clarifying remarks by the long-serving manager about his departure.

The Gunners initially issued a statement explaining that when Wenger said earlier in the day that the timing had not been his, he was talking about when the departure was announced and not saying he had been forced out.

Further clarification arrived just over half an hour later when the club released a statement by Wenger.

"After reaching agreement about my departure, I was happy for the club to decide when to announce," read the statement.

"I wish to make clear the timing of my announcement was right."

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It is believed that Wenger will only receive the financial package he accepted to leave early if he sticks to the official line that he stood down of his own volition.

The sequence of events saw the club labelled "Farcenal" by The Sun while the Daily Mail summed it up with a headline "Day of Farce".

Wenger announced last Friday that he would be stepping down a year before the end of his contract after another failure to sustain a Premier League title challenge.

The club, sixth in the league, face Spanish side Atletico Madrid in the first leg of a Europa League semi-final later on Thursday. Winning the competition is a way back into the Champions League next season.

Wenger has been in charge at Arsenal for more than two decades. He guided the Gunners to two domestic doubles and masterminded the 2004 "Invincibles", as well as winning a record seven FA Cups.