Former Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson leads tributes that continue to pour in for Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger who announced that he would leave the club at the end of the season after 22 years in charge. The Frenchman took charge of Arsenal in September 1996.
Former Manchester United boss Ferguson paid tribute to his “professionalism, talent and determination”.
Ex-Gunners striker Thierry Henry said Wenger leaves “an untouchable legacy”.
Wenger had been under increasing pressure to step down from some fans having failed to win the league for 14 years.
Former Arsenal midfielder Stewart Robson said he was like a “dictator” and should have left several years ago.
“You can’t take away the good things when he came he changed the philosophy of Arsenal,” Robson told BBC Radio 5 live.
“He was fantastic in that period but, like a lot of dictators, they think they are going down the right road – but even when people are saying you need to change, he wouldn’t change.
“Arsenal under Arsene Wenger in the last few years have been too one-dimensional and behind the times in recruitment and physiotherapy. It is the best thing that could happen to Arsenal that he is leaving now.”
Appointed on 1 October 1996, Wenger is the Premier League’s current longest-serving manager and has taken charge of a record 823 games.
His team were dubbed “The Invincibles” in the 2003-04 season after going unbeaten in their title-winning campaign.
Arsene Wenger is currently the longest serving manager in the English Premier League after Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 after 26 years in charge. The current Arsenal team has three first team players who were born after Arsene Wenger had taken over at the club. They are: Ainsley Maitland Niles, Edward Nketiah and Joe Willock
Wenger won three premier league titles including a record unbeaten season in 2003/2004 and seven FA cups and leaves Arsenal at a time they are the best in the competition with 13 titles.
Arsenal went a record 49 consecutive top-flight league games unbeaten from May 2003 to October 2004 under Wenger, breaking Nottingham Forest’s previous record of 42 set between November 1977 and November 1978.
Former Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel has already been linked with the job, while Wenger himself said former Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira “has the potential” to succeed him.
Tuchel was the early favourite with bookmakers, ahead of Germany boss Joachim Low and former Real Madrid, AC Milan and Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti.
“It’s a special job, a special club. The infrastructure, the training ground is out of this world, as good as anything in Europe,” said Hartson.
“In terms of the next manager to step in, Arsenal don’t change their managers around willy-nilly. They don’t get two or three years. Arsene Wenger had 22 years, before him there was George Graham – a long, long time in the job.
“Arsenal will take their time. They have until the end of the season and the summer. They will want to get someone in of course to take care of pre-season and their tour before the season kicks off. It’s a brilliant club – for me it’s the biggest club in London.”