Such has been the ding-dong drama played out in the British tabloids for the last half-decade over Arsène Wenger’s future that many had become desensitised from believing that this day would come, what this day would feel like for lovers of French football, English football and most of all Arsenal.
The truth is that several generations of football fans, whether Arsenal supporters from 1996, Monaco supporters from 1987 or admirers of his generally attacking and exciting brand of football, fell in love with the game thanks to Arsène Wenger.
For 22 years in England, Wenger, regardless of his flaws, has stood on a pedestal in certain respects over every single manager that he watched come to the Premier League and that he subsequently outlived in the Premier League, because of the uniquely generous, respectful and moral outlook that he brought to his job.
From refusing to work with certain top agents because of what he saw as their skewed moral compasses, to categorically avoiding to ever throw a player under contract at Arsenal under the bus at any point, no matter how poor the performances were collectively or their performances were individually.
From Vieira to Henry, from Wright to Rosicky and from Adams to Oxlade-Chamberlain – certain players may have disagreed with Wenger’s methods, but they could never deny the fact that the Frenchman gave them ample opportunity to improve both as a footballer and a man under his stewardship.
On the other side of the Channel, Wenger has consistently been the standard-bearer for the values that members of the French football community want to emulate and foster in its next generations of talent – hard-work, desire and dedication on the pitch and a healthy and uncontroversial life off of it.
Wenger changed English football forever, left an indelible mark on the Premier League with the Invincibles season and has become and will forever remain one of the greatest football men that France has ever produced.
Everyone at Football News wishes him well in whatever he decides to do next.