Former Arsenal midfielder John Jensen believes Arsene Wenger should be considered of equal stature to ex-Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson.
The pair forged a fierce rivalry between Wenger’s arrival in England in 1996 and Ferguson’s retirement in 2013 as their respective clubs did battle on the domestic front.
Ferguson can claim to have had the better of the contest, finishing his career with 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League crowns.
Wenger, meanwhile, has lifted the Premier League on three occasions – the last of those following an unbeaten season in 2003-04 – and reached one Champions League final, where his side lost to Barcelona in 2006.
Ahead of the clubs’ league meeting at Old Trafford on Sunday, Arsenal sit two points off the top in third, while United – struggling for consistency under Louis van Gaal – are 10 points further adrift.
“[Ferguson] changed the total mentality of Manchester United in winning trophies,” Jensen, who played for the Gunners from 1992 to 1996, told Omnisport. “Arsene Wenger has done the same at Arsenal.
“So I think it is very important for Arsene Wenger that he should continue and hopefully finish on a high in the last two or three years he can probably go out winning the Premier League, go a long way in the Champions League.
“He’s been there [the final], he’s never won it. So if he can just finish highly, I would probably put him in the same seat as Sir Alex Ferguson. These two men for me are probably the two best managers in Premier League history.
“And I think Arsene Wenger deserves that. Since he came he has always been in the top four. Always qualifying for the Champions League – that is an absolutely amazing achievement.
“So I really hope, and cross my fingers, that he will win the Premier League the next two times and get to the Champions League final.
“I know Arsene Wenger very well. I think every title he wins is going to be the same for him, but maybe this one [will be special] because it has been so many years now and he hasn’t won.
“And I think it’s 11 years or something like that since he won the Premier League. He’s won some FA Cups, but now because there has been a lot of pressure over the last four or five years he hasn’t won.
“He has now gone out and is spending money on big players as well. I think this will probably maybe be one of the best Championship wins, if he wins it.”
Arsenal claimed the bragging rights over Van Gaal’s United in October, winning 3-0 at Emirates Stadium, but they have not triumphed at Old Trafford in the league since 2006.