The Frenchman has conceded he was blinded by his love for the Gunners when his reign began to turn sour
Arsene Wenger has admitted he should have left Arsenal a decade earlier than he did, with 2007 the first year he “could feel there were tensions inside the board”.
Wenger inherited the managerial reins at Arsenal in 1996 and went on to oversee one of the most successful periods in the north London club’s history.
However, the Frenchman’s stock began to drop and he eventually left in 2018 with the team no longer in the Champions League – a decision he has come to regret.
What has been said?
The veteran manager has opened up on his Arsenal tenure in a new documentary titled ‘Arsene Wenger: Invincible’, which charts his life from his childhood in Alsace to the latter stages of his coaching career.
“I identified myself completely with the club – that was the mistake I made,” said the 72-year-old, who now serves as FIFA’s head of global football development.
“My fatal flaw is I love too much where I am – where I was. I regret it. I should have gone somewhere else.
“Sometimes I wonder – was something broken after that Invincible season? 2007 was a decisive point. It was the first time I could feel there were tensions inside the board.
“I was torn between being loyal to the club and being loyal to David [Dein]. I still today wonder if I did the right thing because life was never exactly the same after.”
Where could Wenger have gone?
Wenger revealed the offers he received to leave Arsenal while in his prime, with Manchester United and Real Madrid snubbed in favour of an extended stay in north London.
“I could have gone to the French national team,” he added. “The English national team twice or three times even. I could have gone twice to Real Madrid. I could have gone to Juventus, Paris St Germain, even Man Utd.”
Wenger’s Arsenal legacy
Wenger delivered 17 domestic trophies at Arsenal and guided them to their first-ever Champions League final.
The Gunners won three Premier League titles under his stewardship, the last of which they managed without losing a game in 2003-04 – becoming the only side in the history of the competition to complete an unbeaten season.
Wenger also won seven FA Cups, including three in his last four seasons.