Arsenal's all-time leading goalscorer Thierry Henry branded Arsene Wenger's legacy at the club as "untouchable".
Wenger announced on Friday he will leave Emirates Stadium at the end of the season after a successful 22-year spell in north London, where he won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups.
Henry, widely regarded to be Arsenal's greatest ever player, was signed from Juventus in 1999 by Wenger, who transformed him into a prolific striker that scored 228 goals for the club across all competitions.
While Henry was saddened by the news, he hinted at relief given the Gunners' struggles in the Premier League over the past two seasons.
"It was a bit of a mixed one. It is a sad day for me to see the big man leaving the club, although we all know he has some games left. Happy in a way that people are going to hopefully give him the exit he deserves," he told Sky Sports News.
"A bit of happiness also because I think recently it has been hard for him and the club. I just hope that starting from Sunday that people are going to support the team and give him a good exit.
"Is it a good time or a bad time? People will debate that. It was his time and he felt like he had to say that. My thing is recently people were always confusing what the team was doing and his legacy. Once you announce that you're leaving people are going to talk about your legacy and his legacy is untouchable."
Personally a very sad day. I am forever in debt to this man. The person who had faith in me and gave me a platform to progress. Thank you for all the memories and trophies boss pic.twitter.com/EP26M6TP3W— Héctor Bellerín (@HectorBellerin) April 20, 2018
Henry, who works as an assistant to Belgium boss Roberto Martinez, has been touted as a potential replacement for Wenger, but refused to give a direct response to such rumours, having previously said he would find it difficult to turn down an approach.
"Look at me laughing. Listen, this is a funny one because I'm not going to go that way again," he said.
"I was trying to talk from the heart and I went a bit too far. There is one person you can ask that question to and that's [Arsenal chief executive] Ivan Gazidis, he's the one who can answer that question."
Arsenal's next match will be the first leg of their Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, a tournament they need to win if they are to qualify for the Champions League next season.
Henry hopes they can secure the trophy to give Wenger a fitting send-off.
"Let's not forget we still have to win the Europa League," added Henry.
"The team has to win the Europa League, it would be a major achievement and a great way to give him a good exit."
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