Former Arsenal players have been paying tribute to Arsene Wenger following the announcement that he will be stepping down as Gunners boss at the end of the season.
Wenger, who has been at the helm for 22 years, announced on Friday morning that he will not see out the final year of is contract at the club.
In a post on Instagram, Chelsea’s former Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who was brought to the Premier League as a teenager by Wenger, hailed him for his “dignity and class” and said he was a “father figure” to him.
Meanwhile, ex-Arsenal stars David Seaman and Nigel Winterburn agreed that it was the right time for Wenger to stand down.
“I think it’s run its natural course,” Winterburn told Sky Sports News. “Arsene Wenger has been absolutely amazing for Arsenal Football Club.
“It probably feels to me like it is the right time. When Arsene Wenger does step down, I think he will be remembered very, very fondly. We talk about the modern era, George Graham started it and Arsene Wenger’s taken it to the next level.
“When he leaves the football club, I think people will look back and really appreciate what Arsene Wenger has done.”
And Seaman told Talksport: “It’s going to be good now, because there’s going to be a chance he will get the send-off and the respect he deserves. The fans that are celebrating like they’ve won the lottery, it makes me a little bit angry if I’m honest. It’s time to show respect and realise what he’s done.
“For me, he is Arsenal, and it’s right that he’s decided to leave on his own terms.
“Now let’s enjoy that. I hope all the fans that have stayed away now return because they’ve still got a chance of winning something this season. Get behind the team, get behind Arsenal, and show him the respect he deserves.”
Wow. I never expected that but it shows the great dignity and class of the man. I will never forget his guidance and support, his tutelage and mentorship. He had faith in me from day one and I owe him a lot, he was like a father figure to me who always pushed me to be the best. Arsene, you deserve all the respect and happiness in the world. #classact ??