LONDON (AP) — Arsene Wenger gathered his Arsenal players to drop a bombshell before training on Friday morning.

After almost 22 years in charge of the north London club, the manager was leaving.

"We didn't see it coming," midfielder Jack Wilshere said. "He had another year left on his contract. Ever since I've known about Arsenal, Arsene has been there. I'm sad."

As the players were informed, so too was the world, via a statement from the 68-year-old Frenchman.

Wenger's carefully worded statement, coupled with the reticence of the club's leadership to publicly discuss what precipitated the announcement, pointed to a less than amicable departure amid a backdrop of mounting dissent.

There is so much to honor Wenger for but largely limited to the first half of his reign.

Before the disillusionment grew among fans as the Premier League title drought persisted, there was so much affection for the manager who revolutionized not just one team but influenced methodology throughout English football.

The highpoint was in 2004 when Wenger became only the second manager to go through an English league unbeaten.

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