Arsenal’s academy coach, Per Mertesacker has claimed that it is the players that forced Arsene Wenger to leave.
The Frenchman left the club after 22 years of service in which he guided the club to 3 league titles and 7 FA Cups.
He was replaced by Unai Emery and with his departure began an era of change for the Gunners.
Mertesacker who played under Wenger feels that the players had a role to play in the departure of the popular manager.
“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.
“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.”
While Mertesacker was sad to see Arsene leave, he also believes that it was the right time for the manager to go.
“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.”
Mertesacker is now the head of the Youth Academy at Arsenal and he will be in charge of nurturing the new generation of Arsenal players who would be hoping to challenge for a place in the first team in the near future.