The Gunners showcased their tribute to the Frenchman outside the Emirates Stadium on Friday, a bronze statue that depicts Wenger lifting the Premier League trophy, which he did three times in total during his illustrious 22-year Arsenal career, in 1997-98, 2001-02 and 2003-04, famously going unbeaten throughout the latter campaign with the historic ‘Invincibles’ team.
The 73-year-old, who now serves as Fifa’s chief of global football development, also won seven FA Cups during a north London stint lasting for an incredible 1,235 matches, plus as many Community Shield triumphs. Former midfielder Wenger is generally credited with helping to modernise Arsenal and English football overall after his arrival in 1996 after spells in charge of Nancy, Monaco and Japanese side Nagoya Grampus Eight, becoming one of the most influential figures in Premier League history.
The statue in his honour, erected outside the North Bank Stand at the Emirates, was created by sculptor Jim Guy, weighing half-a-tonne and standing at three-and-a-half metres tall.
“It’s such a great tribute that the club has done something special for Arsene that he fully deserves and merits,” said current Arsenal manager Arteta, who featured under Wenger and captained the Gunners during his time as a player at the Emirates. “With a statue now at the stadium, Arsene can have that recognition and be here at our club forever.
“I’m so grateful to have played for Arsene 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.”
As well as serving under Wenger as a player, Arteta has also greatly benefitted from his former coach’s valuable words of wisdom since taking the managerial job himself in 2019.
Asked what he had learned from Wenger as a manager, the Spaniard told Arsenal’s official website: “I learned so much from him and if I had to pick one of his many great values, it is how loyal he was and how much he defended the club, its players and football in general.
“The passion he has for the game is just phenomenal and you could see that. He really wanted to respect the game and he wanted it to be played in a certain way. Also, the way he always put the club in front of any personal interest at all times is something that I have tried to learn from him.
“The way he defended the club, the way he presented himself, the way he was loyal to the players and his staff is something that I really took from him. He is an example for me.”