Wenger Out: The Pan-African Legacy of Arsenal's Departing Manager

Examining Arsène Wenger's connection to African players and the rise of diversity in European football.

Last week, Arsène Wenger, the long-standing French manager of Arsenal FC, one of the most popular teams in the English Premier League, announced that he would retire after the end of the season.

His decision not only buried the heated #WengerIn/#WengerOut debate that seemingly obsessed every Arsenal fan from London to Nairobi, it also put an end to a storied and celebrated 22-year long relationship with the North London club.

In that span, he managed Arsenal to three league titles (including an oft-celebrated one during an undefeated season) and to seven FA cup crowns. But perhaps his greatest legacy was that of helping to open the English game –– a notoriously inward-looking and traditionalist league –– to the talents of foreign players. And perhaps no other group of footballers benefited more greatly from Wenger's policy of finding talent abroad than African and black Caribbean footballers.

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