A long-awaited statue of Arsene Wenger has been unveiled outside Emirates Stadium ahead of Arsenal’s friendly with his former club Monaco.
The Gunners have also confirmed the Frenchman will be the guest of honour at the match on Wednesday and will visit the tribute, which depicts him holding aloft the Premier League trophy, in the forthcoming coming days.
Arsenal have wanted to mark Wenger’s incredible contribution to the club for some time but have had to wait for relations with the Frenchman to thaw since he stepped away from the club five years ago.
Created by sculptor Jim Guy, the new statue weighs more than half a ton and takes pride of place on the podium close to the North Bank. It’s sure to be a popular addition to a concourse that already celebrates the legacies of three of his players – Tony Adams, Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp – as well as predecessor Herbert Chapman and Ken Friar OBE, who continues to serve as the club’s life president.
Forever Arsène. Forever Arsenal. pic.twitter.com/gdzJfEhhq7
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) July 28, 2023
Wenger oversaw 1,235 matches as Arsenal’s manager between October 1996 and May 2018. During that time, the club won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups, including the Doubles of 1997/98 and 2001/02 and the ‘Invincible’ season of 2003/04. He also oversaw the move from Highbury to Emirates Stadium as the club geared up for a new era.
Wenger’s eye for talent, witty turns of phrase and playing philosophy earned him and Arsenal legions of fans worldwide. No doubt many will travel to London to have a personal moment with the statue.
Manager Mikel Arteta, signed by Wenger in 2011, said of the unveiling: “It’s such a great tribute that the club has done something special for Arsène that he fully deserves and merits. With a statue now at the stadium, Arsène can have that recognition and be here at our club forever.
“I’m so grateful to have played for Arsène at this club in my career. He chose me to be one of his players and selected me to be the captain of the club and that’s something I will never forget.”
Tim Lewis, Arsenal’s Executive Vice Chair, added: “We’re delighted to recognise and celebrate Arsène Wenger’s outstanding leadership and career at Arsenal Football Club. Arsène’s contribution to, and achievements with, the club mark him out as the club’s greatest manager. He treated the club and its supporters to many trophies and fantastic memories and brought a revolution in the running of the club, an unbeaten season and the move to Emirates Stadium.
“It is fitting, therefore, that as a mark of the club’s enduring respect and gratitude a magnificent statue of Arsène now stands outside Emirates Stadium. It is a place where our supporters and all who visit Emirates Stadium can be reminded of Arsène’s contribution and his legacy.”
We look forward to seeing Arsene on Wednesday evening.