With all that's going on at Arsenal these days, it's hard not to feel nostalgic. Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger spoke about a return to management.
Time for #WengerIn?
In an interview with The Telegraph, Arsene Wenger spoke about his life three years removed from a 22-year Arsenal stint.
The Frenchman is now enjoying life with FIFA as their Chief of Global Development. Regarding a return, he says sometimes you have to accept your time is up.
"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," he said.
"Overall we have to accept that our days come to an end at some stage. But I don't rule it out."
🇫🇷 Arsene Wenger on dribbling Zidane in a charity game: “First I went left, he did too. Then I went right and he did too. Then I went left again and he went to buy a hot dog.”
Classic. 😂 pic.twitter.com/fLklQPMbDg
— Bee Sports (@BeeSports_app) September 17, 2021
Wenger's autobiography, My Life in Red and White, was released last year and has won several book awards since, including a Sunday Times bestseller.
The World Cup
In the interview, he revealed in 2016 he was offered the England manager's job. This was after Roy Hodgson's contract was terminated after a loss to Iceland in the Euros.
"Yes, I think so," Wenger responded when asked if the English FA approached him. He did give praise to the current boss, Gareth Southgate.
If accepted he would have left his post at The Gunners early and spearheaded England's 2018 World Cup campaign. They would end up making the semi-finals.
As part of his FIFA role, Wenger has received some criticism regarding the move to have the World Cup every two years, something he still defends.
"We all know why it’s happening," he said. "Whatever people say that it’s about giving different countries opportunities, in the end it’s all about money, that’s how it is."
"I was asked how to improve the football calendar. One of the keys is to organize better competitions. If people have better ideas, I am open to dialogue. I try to find solutions to make football better. That's my goal, and no other."
-Arsène Wenger on the new World Cup proposal pic.twitter.com/QzIheavd9A
— Football Talk (@Football_TaIk) September 9, 2021
His Time With Arsenal
While Arsenal are having a tough time of it as of late, some are quick to point the blame at Wenger and the latter years in charge.
Wenger said, "I think people are quite harsh about the last years." He described the exit as 'lonely' and 'very painful' after over two decades at the club.
"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," he added. Judging on last year's Premier League table, it would have left Arsenal second.
On this day in 2002 Arsene Wenger was named ‘Comical Wenger' by the English media when he claimed it wasn't impossible to go a season unbeaten in the Premier League…
The very next season Arsenal became the Invincibles & Arsene Wenger was proved right.
Arsene always knew best. pic.twitter.com/qB7qmDRToT
— now.arsenal (@now_arsenaI) September 20, 2021
The 71-year-old continued to speak about the twilight years and had plenty of answers to those who doubted his final years in management.
"We won the FA Cup against Chelsea, who had just won the championship. And after, in 2018, we lost the League Cup final against City, we lost in the semi-final of the Europa League against Atletico Madrid, by just one goal."
As time has moved on, it appears Wenger has too. But there'll always be a part of him that looks back on what he's achieved in fondness.
"Look, 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."