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Wenger will leave Arsenal but won’t retire from coaching

The Frenchman may not manage a club side again, but the opportunity of a national team job or a sporting director role attracts him

Arsene Wenger wants an immediate return to football after he steps down as Arsenal manager, we exclusively reveal.

The Frenchman announced that he will resign as Gunners boss after almost 22 years in charge at the end of the season, having won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups.

And while the 68-year-old does not want to leave the game entirely, he may not manage a club again.

Instead, he could take up a role with a national team or even a position as a sporting director.

Indeed, he would like to return to football as soon as possible.

Additionally, he is in the dark about who will succeed him at the Emirates Stadium and has insisted that he be kept out of the loop until the board have made a decision as to the identity of that person.

He wants no part in the selection process, unlike former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, another long-time servant of one club, who recommended Everton boss David Moyes to take over from him.

Despite recent struggles, though, the timing of Wenger’s decision came as a shock to all.

He made the decision by himself and told the playing staff before training on Friday – even those close to him did not know it was coming.

His thinking behind the decision was to try and rally a sense of unity behind the team before the end of the season as it has become imperative for him to win the Europa League, which would provide the club a pathway back into the Champions League.

The Gunners face Atletico Madrid over two legs in that competition and will then have to tackle Red Bull Salzburg or Marseille – a club that Wenger has clashed with in the past – if they are to lift the crown.

The north London side currently sit 14 points behind Tottenham, who are fourth, in the Premier League table, and a staggering 33 points behind champions Manchester City.

Wenger will manage Arsenal in the Premier League a total of five more times, with games coming up against West Ham, Manchester United, Burnley, Leicester City and Huddersfield Town.

His final home game in charge of the Gunners, meanwhile, will come against Sean Dyche’s Clarets on May 6.

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