To promote the ‘Arsene Wenger: Invincible’ Movie, out in select cinemas and available on Amazon next week, Arsene Wenger sat down with Ian Wright for an interview on behalf of Ladbible TV.
I don’t understand how any true Gooner can tire of hearing our greatest ever manager advertise a film which documents our most successful season …. but one thing I don’t understand ……
The title tells you what the article is about. If I didn’t like the subject, I wouldn’t bother clicking read more, let alone reading the whole thing and then commenting on the piece.
Here are the main take aways when Mr Wenger met Ian Wright…
Who he regretted not buying? Part 1
Not just did Mr Wenger regret missing out on this player, he had a deal agreed.
The player had been to the training ground, talked to the Frenchman and accepted terms.
Wenger says Arsenal were guilty of dawdling on finalising the deal.
This allowed Man United to also negotiate with the youngster.
If the Gunners hadn’t decided to wait for the end of the week to secure his signature, it would have been too late for Sir Alex Ferguson.
The player in question? A certain Cristiano Ronaldo!
Imagine how different the history of the sport could have been had we not hesitated?
Who he regretted not buying? Part 2
Many of our fan base wonder why we didn’t buy Kante after he lifted the title with Leicester.
In reality we could have bought the midfielder before he went to the King Power.
Mr Wenger had a friend who worked as an agent. He phoned one day to inform his buddy he had a client who was a free agent and couldn’t find a club.
He was driving Kante around France being turned down by several teams, only deemed good enough for their third division.
He went on to win two Premiere League’s, the Champions League, Europa, FA Cup and World Cup
Like Mr Wenger said, his story could be a movie.
According to one reader, Maitland Niles is better! This remains my favourite comment on this site…
Mr Wenger would earn a reputation for finding gems on the cheap and turning them into superstars, either winning trophies or making money for the club.
The Frenchman feels Vieira was the most important because it reassured Gooners that their new manager, unknown at the time, could spot talent.
Vieira officially was signed before Mr Wenger arrived in England.
Knowing he was joining (working his notice in Japan) one of the first things the boss did was tell David Dein to snap up the 20-year-old.
The Invincible defence cost less than 10 million
One of the biggest myths within our fanbase Is Mr Wenger was lucky to inherit a world class defence and couldn’t build his own.
Simply not true!
Of the defenders who went a season unbeaten, only Keown was around before the manager, and he only featured 10 times in the League in 2003-2004.
The 72-year-old has too much class to point he built a back 5 which didn’t lose a single League game but does point out how cheap they were.
Lauren 8 million, Lehmann was approx. 1.5 million, Kolo Touré was half a million, Campbell was free, Cole was from the academy.
Not bad for a man who apparently only inherited a defence…
Asked about the most underrated players he’s worked with Mr Wenger mentioned that Gilberto Silva never gets mentioned.
Watching Brazil lift the World Cup in 2002, Mr Wenger noticed how everything started with the midfielder breaking up play.
One of those players you noticed when they were not playing
Mr Wenger feels the first Double was the most important.
It appears he was well aware of the perception of him when he arrived in England and that the quicker he was successful, the more it would prove that be belonged at this level.
He claims the open top bus parade in 1998 was the first time he grasped just how big Arsenal were.
He was used to 38,000 inside Highbury every other week.
Celebrating our first ever Premiership and the FA Cup, he estimates 230,000 Gooners were in attendance.
Hence the argument that we needed a bigger stadium.
It is not a shock to hear that the Champions League Final was the most painful defeat of his career.
Knowing that he would be breaking up his squad there was a sense of it was now or never for Arsenal to win the European Cup.
It was also how we lost.
We hadn’t conceded a goal in the entire knockout stages and had to play against Barcelona with 10 men.
Against the odds we were 13 mins away from immortality.
Even with a man deficit we had the chances.
Wenger Was Collateral
Your opinion on Mr Wenger’s legacy comes down to what you believe regarding off the stadium debt.
When arranging a payment plan, the rumour goes that bank insisted that Mr Wenger sign a 5-year contract extension to give them assurances that Arsenal were serious about finishing in the top 4, guaranteeing much needed revenue.
Wenger qualified for the Champions League every year till the stadium was paid off, despite having to sell his best talent.
In his final months as our boss Mr Wenger promised one day, he would tell the world the offers he had to walk away.
As highlighted in the film, Mr Wenger was courted three times by Real Madrid, PSG, Juventus, France and England.
The Frenchman felt that having been part of convincing board members to invest over 400 million in building the Emirates, it would be wrong to abandon ship when the club were in a financially uncertain future.
At the time he viewed keeping Arsenal in the top 4 on a tight budget his most impressive piece of work.
If he knew some would base everything on medals won, he would have gone elsewhere.
‘Subconsciously I would say no’
While not guaranteeing anything, Mr Wenger says he doubts he would return to club management, but would be open to helping anyone in an advisory capacity.
He wouldn’t rule out a short-term international job.
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