Arsene Wenger made English game less English
Luis Enrique primed to take over from manager at Arsenal
The Arsene Wenger era - which started at Ewood Park against Blackburn Rovers on October 12 1996 - is finally over after his decision to step down as Arsenal manager.
Luis Enrique is primed to succeed him, according to the Daily Mail in London.
Only an unexpected glitch in negotiations, which are well advanced, can prevent the appointment of the 47-year-old winner of countless honours as a creative forward with Barcelona and Real Madrid and subsequently as manager of the Catalan giants, the paper reported on its website yesterday.
Wenger's name is synonymous with Arsenal after winning three English Premier League titles, a record seven FA Cups and six Charity/Community Shields, as well as overseeing the move from Highbury to Emirates Stadium in 2006, an arena that will stand as a monument to his achievements.However, of late, he had become an increasingly divisive figure among Arsenal fans, as the club has gone 14 years without a Premier League title.
But his success and impact on English football has made him one of the most significant personalities of the modern era.
Wenger signed a new two-year contract after beating Chelsea to win the FA Cup in 2017, but dismal league form added to increasing fan discontent and declining attendances, made his departure inevitable.
"Arsene Who?" was one infamous headline that greeted Wenger's arrival on his appointment after a 19-month spell at Nagoya Grampus Eight in Japan, having previously won Ligue 1 in France with a Monaco side boasting England international Glenn Hoddle.
It was soon clear, however, that English football was seeing the arrival of the man who would change the landscape forever with his approach to tactics, diet - instantly banning chocolate as a pre-match snack - and the culture of professional players.
Daily Mirror chief football writer John Cross, author of Arsene Wenger: The Inside Story of Arsenal Under Wenger, said: "My reaction was like everyone else. It felt like Arsenal were taking a huge gamble in an era when foreign managers were almost unheard of. Let's not forget he was the first foreign manager to win the Premier League."Wenger, having replaced Bruce Rioch, would provide the answer to the doubters in the months ahead as he moulded the modern Arsenal on to the platform left behind by their former title-winning boss George Graham.
The revolution was swiftly into full swing with scientific methods that would shape the Gunners' success, starting with an English Premier League title and FA Cup triumph in his first full season at the club.
"Arsene Who?" was putting Arsenal's foundations in place and blazing a trail for foreign managers. Only two, Osvaldo Ardiles and Ruud Gullit, had worked in the Premier League before him - and he was to set the pace, template and trend for others.
From Christian Gross arriving at Spurs in 1997 to Javi Gracia at Watford this season there have been 54 foreign coaches to manage at least one game in the Premier League since Wenger was appointed at Arsenal.
Wenger brought a golden age to Arsenal between 1998 and 2004, the early months of the 1996-97 season almost a fact-finding mission for the era that culminated in "The Invincibles" going a 38-game Premier League season unbeaten 14 years ago.
But few could have imagined the day of "The Invincibles" marked the beginning of the end of the glory years. - bbc.com