With his departure having been surprisingly announced this morning, the tributes have been pouring in. Many Premier League managers, including Pep Guardiola and forever arsehole Jose Mourinho, had their pre-match press conference today, and players and others have been to social media to voice their respect.
#PEP: Arsene Wenger has all my respect. The Premier League is the Premier League now because of Arsene Wenger and what he has done, his vision and respect for football. I wish him all the best in the future. Of course it was a pleasure to compete against him.— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 20, 2018
Guardiola’s tribute echoed many: that Mister Wenger changed the Premier League. Others, like David Moyes, Jurgen Klopp and Neil Warnock, paid tribute to staying 22 years at one club, and Paul Merson called for the Emirates to be renamed the Arsène Wenger Stadium.
Sir Alex Ferguson, Wenger’s long competitor, said he was proud to “have been a colleague, a rival, and a friend to such a great man.”
From further afield, Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington and the Leader of the Labour Party, and an Arsenal fan, paid a glowing tribute:
Arsène Wenger, thank you for all the achievements, over such a long period, for the club I love.— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) April 20, 2018
Three Premier League titles, the unbeaten season, a record breaking seven FA Cups and revolutionising the English game. https://t.co/2jWgUsY9Nf
As for players, Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas and Jack Wilshere all called Wenger “a father figure.” Héctor Bellerin said that it is “Personally a very sad day. I am forever in debt to this man.” Alex Iwobi echoed that sentiment. Per Mertesacker spoke to Arsenal.com fairly soon after the news, and revealed that the players had only just been informed:
We have just been informed basically. It is quite emotional. Obviously he has been at the club for such a long time, he has been so supportive to me. One major reason why I’m here is because of him. It’s been emotional and there will be time to digest it but it is a sad feeling right now.
Mertesacker later left a video tribute on Twitter.
Boss, just recently I was saying how much you influenced my career. You taught me how to be the best leader & captain. It's an emotional day for us Gunners, you gave everything to the club & I’m so proud to be a part of your journey. My biggest thanks to you Arsène. #MerciArsène pic.twitter.com/fJQMCx05Y3— Per Mertesacker (@mertesacker) April 20, 2018
Sol speaks for all of us.
It’s been an honour to play for you and win trophies with https://t.co/GfP7SLO8Fq have been a big influence in my life on and off the field from a boy to a man.I am so happy to see everyone showing gratitude and respect today because you more than deserve it.Thank you Boss pic.twitter.com/QpL7M7ZL7X— Aaron Ramsey (@aaronramsey) April 20, 2018
and now i’m gonna go cry