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Wenger reveals timing of Arsenal departure 'was not really my decision'

The Frenchman will depart the club in the summer after a managerial reign lasting close to 22 years.

ARSENE WENGER HAS admitted that the timing of his departure from Arsenal was taken out of his hands.

Last week, the Frenchman announced that he will depart the club in the summer after a managerial reign lasting close to 22 years, despite having 12 months left on his deal.

When asked today why he will stand down at the end of the season, Wenger replied: “The timing was not really my decision and for the rest I’ve spoken about it already.

“I don’t know what I will do. I will continue to work, that’s for sure. My pride has always been to give my best to where I’m employed until the last day of my contract.

“I do my job, keep my routine and focus on what I have to do everyday and prepare well for the games. It will be surreal for me when I don’t work. At the moment I work.”

Meanwhile, Wenger also intimated that that he would be content to see Luis Enrique replace him in the Emirates dugout.

The Spaniard, who won the 2014-15 Champions League with Barcelona, is currently favourite to replace him at the north London club.

While he once again stressed that he did not want to influence the board’s hunt for a new boss after he steps down in the summer, Wenger gave the thumbs up to the former Barca man.

“I have a high opinion of him but I do not want to influence the job of the next manager,” he told the press. “Of course I have a high opinion of Luis Enrique.”

Set to miss the top four in the Premier League in successive seasons, Wenger would not be drawn into branding a potential Europa League win as the ideal way to bow out.

“Is there a perfect goodbye? I don’t know,” he said. “I just want to do as well as I can because this team has quality. I see them always respond in a positive way and this group of players deserve something special. I want to do it for them and achieve something with them.”

Arsenal find themselves sixth in their domestic table, 11 points shy of fourth-placed Tottenham with four matches remaining, meaning success in the Europa League is their last realisitic prospect of making the Champions League next season.

The Gunners host Atletico Madrid in tomorrow night’s Europa League semi-final first leg.

As it stands: Plenty of Irish interest as the race to the Premier League reaches its climax

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