Arsene Wenger was always set to be a success at Arsenal and the players loved playing for him, according to former defender Nigel Winterburn.
The 68-year-old announced on Friday that he will depart the Gunners at the end of the season, having won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups in his time with the London club.
And Winterburn, who played for Arsenal between 1987 and 2000, was not surprised by Wenger's achievements in England.
"When you start to train with a manager and see the way he sets his team out, the way he wants to play – I fell in love with playing for him because of that freedom he gave you," he told Sky Sports News.
"There was never going to be any question over whether Arsene Wenger would be a success for Arsenal Football Club."
However, Winterburn concedes that, given Arsenal's relative struggles in recent years, it is time for Wenger to move on.
"It doesn't surprise me, if I'm honest," he said. "I've done a lot of work around the club in the last four years and there is a different feel.
"You look at the stadium for the last four league games and the attendances are down. It's run its course - Arsene Wenger has been amazing for Arsenal Football Club but not getting another challenge for the Premier League title has been a big frustration for him and the supporters.
124 - Arsene Wenger has faced 124 different opponents as manager of Arsenal, but has only failed to beat 5 of those teams:— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 20, 2018
Fiorentina (P2 W0 D1 L1)
PAOK Salonika (P2 W0 D1 L1)
Paris Saint-Germain (P2 W0 D2 L0)
Port Vale (P2 W0 D2 L0)
Rotherham United (P1 W0 D1 L0)
"That proves to me that it is the right time. And when he steps down, I think Arsene will be remembered very fondly for this football club.
"I know there's a lot of animosity around, some people wanted him to stand and others said it was time to go. You can leave it until the end of the season and people then would have started speculating."
Patrick Vieira, a former team-mate of Winterburn at Arsenal, is one of the favourites to come in as Wenger's replacement, and it is an appointment the ex-Wimbledon man would back that appointment.
"I think it's going to be very, very difficult [to replace Wenger]," he said. "I don't think it's a given that the new manager will be successful.
"If it is Patrick Vieira then I would be delighted. He's in America at the moment [with New York City FC], learning the management side of the game.
"It's important to have ex-players around the coaching staff at the football club. Let's just wait and see. I think he will be one of 10 or 12 names thrown around before we know who that manager is."
|Suns star Booker set to return for season opener|
|Warriors coach Kerr not expecting fast start from NBA champs|
|Fultz to start for 76ers as Brown eyes NBA Finals|
|Maltese champions Valletta want Usain Bolt|
|It would have been normal to kill them! Luis Enrique slams abysmal Spain|
|Seahawks, Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen dies aged 65|
|Red Sox ace Sale released from hospital, still set for game five|
|Beer-throwing fan banned by Patriots|
|Southgate lauds ´tremendous´ attackers after famous Spain win|
|Djokovic closing in on summit as he scales new heights|
|Monaco the natural move for Henry - Martinez|
|Ending England drought a ´beautiful feeling´ – Sterling|
|Halep to face Pavlyuchenkova in Moscow comeback|
|NBA 2018-19: Five non-LeBron James storylines to follow|
|Spain 2 England 3: Kane inspires Three Lions as Sterling ends drought in style|
|Bosnia-Herzegovina 2 Northern Ireland 0: Dzeko double leaves O´Neill´s side on the brink|
|Mannarino stops the rot in Moscow|
|Neymar pleased Brazil will not face Messi in Argentina clash|
|Buccaneers fire defensive coordinator Mike Smith after loss to Falcons|
|´Surprised´ Deschamps accepts he could´ve made more effort with Koscielny|
|Kuwait 0 Australia 4: Socceroos deliver win for new coach Arnold|
|Van Dijk fit for Liverpool return - Koeman|
|NBA 2018-19: Eastern Conference predictions|
|NBA 2018-19: Five rookies to watch|
|Denly replaces injured Dawson in England ODI squad|
|Low confirms under-fire Neuer to start against France|
|NBA 2018-19: Western Conference predictions|
|Bolt offered two-year deal by European club, says agent|
|NBA 2018-19: LeBron the Laker - what it means|
|Griezmann ahead of Mbappe for Ballon d´Or - Modric|
|Billy Vunipola ruled out with fractured arm|
|Get the chequebook out! - Mayweather talks up potential Khabib clash|
|Amla ruled out of Australia tour|
|Class act Hamilton more complete than ever - Wolff|
|NBA 2018-19: It´s a big season for - Ball, Kawhi, Carmelo, Love & Cousins|
|Bellew: I have no fear of Usyk|
|Birthday boy Ozil is the most creative player in Europe|
|CSA reveals De Villiers and Rabada involved in Mzansi Super League|
|FA condemns England supporters involved in trouble in Seville|
|Gascoigne hits back over Scottish Hall of Fame snub|
|NBA 2018-19: LeBron closing in on Jordan, Curry chasing Miller and Allen|
|Ter Stegen should start ahead of Neuer for Germany – Matthaus|
|England´s Sterling impressed by Sancho´s work ethic|
|Vandoorne seals switch to Formula E|
|Halep to end 2018 as world number one|
|Sri Lanka´s Jayasuriya charged by ICC with breaching anti-corruption code|
|Vermaelen out for six weeks with hamstring injury|
|LeBron and Irving did not fall out, says ex-Cavs trainer|
|Ramsey out of Wales´ clash with Republic of Ireland|
|Bolt angry with drugs test|
|Bad luck is not a coincidence – Kimmich concerned by Germany form|
|Mahomes: Chiefs need to win like Brady and the Patriots|
|Schuster warns Real Madrid not to panic-buy striker in January|
|We´re here to win! - Paine not happy celebrating a draw|
|Injured Thauvin out of Germany clash|
|Southgate hits out at early Premier League start|
|Modric to Inter talk is ´fantasy´, says Guardiola|
|Pats hand first loss to Chiefs after wild shoot-out|
|Cowboys, Ravens dominate as Pats beat Chiefs in NFL classic|
|Brady becomes first QB to 200 regular-season wins in NFL|
|Red Sox level series against Astros|
|Mbappe leaves red-faced Dembele on his backside|
|Red Sox ace Sale admitted to hospital with stomach illness|
|From UFC to NFL? McGregor throws pass for Cowboys|
|Ancelotti praises ´dangerous´ Mbappe|
|Uncapped Papalii named in All Blacks squad|
|Kane would star in LaLiga – Ramos|
|Guardiola unsure about Man City´s Champions League chances|
|Dzeko: Premier League return? You never know|
|Gurley dominates to help Rams beat Broncos|