Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Wenger not ruling out return to management as he defends final years of Arsenal reign

SoccerNews in English Premier League 21 Sep 2021

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Arsene Wenger is not ruling out a return to management in the future after feeling harshly treated following his departure from Arsenal.

The Frenchman left Arsenal in 2018 after 22 years at the club and is now working as FIFA’s chief of global football development.

He won three Premier League titles with the Gunners and the FA Cup on seven occasions, while also reaching the Champions League final and famously overseeing the Invincibles side of 2003-04.

Arsenal failed to mount a serious title challenge after moving from Highbury to Emirates Stadium in 2006, though, and there was an increasingly vocal “Wenger Out” brigade near the end of his tenure.

But Wenger believes he deserves more credit for what he achieved in his final years in north London, with Arsenal finishing fifth in the Premier League and then eighth in back-to-back seasons since he left.

“I think people are quite harsh about the last years,” he told The Telegraph. “In 2016, we finished second in the league. Leicester won, but other teams were behind Leicester as well and Leicester only lost three games. 

“In 2017, we did not qualify for the top four for the first time in 20 years, but we got 75 points.

“People don’t realise. We won the FA Cup against Chelsea, who had just won the championship. In 2018, we lost the League Cup final against Manchester City, we lost in the semi-final of the Europa League against Atletico Madrid, by one goal.

“Arsenal will be in my heart forever, but I focus on my next life now.

“I gave the best years of my career to develop what I think is important – the stadium, to pay it back and put the club in a position where it was capable of facing the future and had the potential to do well. 

“At the end of the day, above all, we won and what I am most proud about is putting the club in that position.”

Wenger has been linked with a number of jobs at club and international level since leaving Arsenal a little over three years ago.

Despite turning 72 next month, the former Nancy, Monaco and Nagoya Grampus Eight coach has hinted he may be tempted into another managerial position.

“Overall we have to accept that our days come to an end at some stage,” he said. “But I don’t rule it out.

“There are always people who say ‘You are too old’, so at the time maybe I thought they were right, but I am in good shape and I have not completely decided not to do it anymore.”

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