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'His farewell was the players' fault' - Arsenal squad cost Wenger his job, admits Mertesacker

Per Mertesacker said he still regrets the departure of the veteran coach from the Emirates last season.

Mertesacker and Wenger pictured before the 2015 FA Cup final at Wembley.
Mertesacker and Wenger pictured before the 2015 FA Cup final at Wembley.

GERMAN DEFENDER PER Mertesacker said he “deeply regrets” the role that the Arsenal players had in Arsene Wenger’s exit.

The Frenchman left Arsenal at the end of last season after 22 years in charge having only guided them to a seventh-place finish in the Premier League after coming in sixth the previous year.

Wenger was let go a year before his contract expired and was replaced by ex-Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla boss Unai Emery.

Pressure had been building around the veteran manager for years as sections of the club’s support had been calling for him to leave.

But ex-Arsenal defender Mertesacker believes Wenger was failed by his players in the run up to a sad farewell.

“It was a bit surprising for us. He came into the meeting and said that he had decided together with the bosses to leave at the end of the season,” he told ESPN. 

Per Mertesacker The German defender was signed by Wenger from Werder Bremen in 2011. Source: DPA/PA Images

“It was a sad moment because I had the feeling I contributed my share to it.

“His farewell was also the players’ fault because we had many chances to get better results. We failed while he backed us all the time.

“I was the first who felt the need to say something and said I deeply regretted it. It was important for him to see that we had something to say as a team and that we stood by his side.”

Although his departure came with a feeling of sadness, Mertesacker believes the renowned coach left at the right time.

“No. Not a second too early or too late. When the news of his departure was finally out, the atmosphere changed,” he said.

“It was said what a great man he was, who changed this club extremely. You could not have had more success with this team. He got a deserved farewell and left this club as a legend.”

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