Arsenal sacked Arsene Wenger and paid him £9million to leave at the end of the season, despite having a year remaining on his contract.
The Frenchman announced on Friday that he was leaving the Emirates this summer after 22 years in charge of the club.
The 68-year-old claimed it was ‘the right time for me to step down’, but it now emerges that he was forced out under pressure from the US owners.
Arsenal ‘paid Arsene Wenger £11million to leave the club at the end of the season’
Reports claim that Wenger lost the support of owner Stan Kroenke, who decided to act
Instead Wenger lost the support of owner Stan Kroenke, who decided to act ahead of the Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid next week.
Wenger had no intention of leaving the club, forcing them to pay off the final year of his salary in full.
Having missed out on Champions League football this season and way off the pace in the league, the Gunners need to win the Europa League to return to the top table of European football.
The board hope announcing his departure early will galvanise the fan base and the players ahead of the must-win tie.
Chief executive Ivan Gazidis would not be drawn on the talks which led to Wenger’s exit
Wenger is leaving Arsenal after 22 years as manager having won three league titles
Chief executive Ivan Gazidis hailed Wenger on Friday evening but would not be drawn on the talks which led to his departure.
Instead he heaped praise on the long-serving boss and admitted finding a replacement would be a tall order.
‘I have often said (replacing Wenger) is the biggest challenge we face,’ Gazidis said.
‘In the coming months the world will see the unity and power of this football club, and the people within it.
‘We are not going to find a replacement for Arsene Wenger – we have to find a new path forward.
‘Arsene often said his aim was to leave the club in a better position than when he found it and we are in a better place today than we could have ever imagined 22 years ago,’ he added.
The Frenchman is leaving the Gunners despite having a year left on his contract
Wenger released a statement on the club website announcing his imminent exit.
In it, Wenger said: ‘After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season.
‘I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years.
‘I managed the club with full commitment and integrity.
‘I want to thank the staff, the players, the directors and the fans who make this club so special.’
Reports claim that Wenger had no intention of stepping down before his contract ended