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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Arsene Wenger to step down as Arsenal manager after 22 years at end of season

The Frenchman, who has won three Premier League titles during his reign, has agreed to depart following discussions with the club board

Arsene Wenger has announced he will leave Arsenal at the end of the season after almost 22 years in the role.

The 68-year-old's position has come under intense scrutiny over the past 18 months due to repeated failings in the Premier League and the Uefa Champions League.

The Frenchman has lifted the FA Cup in three of the last four seasons but that has not been enough to appease some supporters and Wenger, whose side are set to compete against Atletico Madrid in the Europa League semi-finals next week, confirmed his decision to step down on Friday morning.

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"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," a statement released on the club's website read.

"I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years."

Arsenal are sixth in the Premier League this season, 33 points adrift of champions Manchester City, with their only hope of silverware this season being winning the Europa League.

Wenger's final Premier League game will be at Huddersfield Town on May 13, with his final game at the Emirates Stadium coming on May 6 when Arsenal entertain Burnley.

Arsenal's majority shareholder Stan Kroenke paid tribute to a man of "unparallelled class".

"Arsene has unparallelled class and we will always be grateful to him. Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude," said Kroenke, who took a controlling stake in the club in 2011.

"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 Arsene 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."

Arsenal added that a successor to Wenger will be found "as soon as possible".