On Soccer: Arsène Wenger Will Leave Arsenal, Proudly but Imperfectly

All of those eulogies are true, of course. Wenger’s longevity, as Ferguson highlighted, is an achievement in itself. The loyalty between him and the club “of his heart,” as he has always put it, is increasingly an anachronism in soccer’s age of impatience. It is the end of an era not just for Arsenal, but for the sport as a whole, too, in that sense. There will be no more who do what Wenger did, for as long as he did.

He did, as others mentioned, shape some of the finest teams England has seen: the one that won the Premier League and F.A. Cup in his first full season, built on the granite defense he had inherited; the Invincibles of Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira in 2004; the team that came within 12 minutes of winning the Champions League in 2006.

In doing so, he transformed what Arsenal was, how it was seen, across the globe. That is Wenger’s legacy, just as much as the sleek, space-age stadium the club built on the back of his success and the state-of-the-art training facility he helped design: Arsenal had not always been seen as a bastion of taste and style in England, let alone around the world.

He transformed more than just his club, though. Possibly more than…

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