Arsene Wenger has said “the values” of Arsenal prevented him joining Manchester United after he was offered the chance to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson.
The claim was made by former Red Devils chairman Martin Edwards in his newly released autobiography, revealing both him and former chief executive Peter Kenyon approached Wenger twice after Ferguson announced he would retire in 2002.
Wenger, though, effectively said ‘thanks but no thanks’ as he couldn’t see himself leaving the Gunners who he’d fallen in love with.
“I was always happy here, people were happy with me and I was always happy,” he said, as reported by Goal.
“I love the values of this club and, for me, a club is about values first. One day it would be a good chat to have with the press to look at the evolution.
“You speak about Man United, the evolution in the last 20 years would be very interesting. A lot has changed but when I came here this club was about values that I love in sport. That is why I am still in the competition.”
“I always question myself. Yes, of course, Man United is attractive but am I happy here? The answer was ‘yes’,” he added.
“It is too long to talk about that but I think it is quite an interesting subject that you know certainly as well as I do, but a lot has changed.
“When I arrived here we were 80 people, today we are 700. Sometimes I cross somebody inside our club who I know, that is quite new. Most of them I don’t know anymore. We have changed a lot.”
Wenger celebrated 20 years in charge of the Gunners in October 2016, during his tenure he’s witnessed the club go through an incredible transformation, notably their playing style – helped by the calibre of footballers developed and signed by him – as well as move from spiritual home Highbury to the Emirates.
His longevity is a stark contrast to those around him as he is not only the Premier League’s longest serving manager but right across England’s professional game.
The Frenchman is also the only manager active in Europe’s top 55 divisions to have begun his current employment in the 20th century.
A prosperous first decade, in which he lifted three Premier League titles, has been followed by a dearth of success though he remains the club’s most decorated manager – as well as the most illustrious manager in FA Cup history with seven titles – but it’s now 13 years since Arsenal were crowned English champions.
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