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Arsene Wenger has said he did not “have enough time to think about football” by the end of his Arsenal tenure due to the other demands made of him at the club.
The Frenchman has now been out of management for over a year. He left Arsenal at the end of the 2017-18 season to close out more than 20 years at the club, during which he won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups.
Most of Wenger’s success with the Gunners came in the first decade he was in charge.
His league title victories came in 1997-98, 2001-02 and 2003-04, the last of which was won by his famous Invincibles side, which went the whole Premier League season unbeaten.
The Gunners then largely struggled to compete for the Premier League, particularly in Wenger’s final years at the club, when his previously revolutionary methods seemed to become less effective.
As far as Wenger himself is concerned, there were too many other distractions for him at the north London club by the end of his tenure, per beIN Sports (h/t Goal’s Josh Thomas):
“My frustration in the end was that I didn’t have enough time to think about football. Maybe because I was in a form of model of management where I had so many things to do but I was slowly, if I think back today, I was invaded between the time I arrived to the end. I was basically invaded by demands that stopped me from concentrating on what is the most important part of my job.“
Wenger was succeeded at Arsenal by Unai Emery, who improved Arsenal’s point tally in his debut season in charge:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Unai Emery has now bettered Arsenal’s points tally from last campaign in his first season in charge:
2017/18: 38 games, 63 points
2018/19: 33 games, 66 points
Making it look hard. https://t.co/lHHHsOHMhm
He was unable, though, to return Arsenal to the UEFA Champions League, which the Gunners qualified for for 19 seasons running under Wenger.
The 2019-20 campaign will be the third successive season in which Arsenal have completed in the UEFA Europa League following three terms outside the Premier League’s top four.
Despite diminishing returns in his final years at Arsenal, Wenger is still highly respected in the game and he has been linked with a number of jobs since leaving the Emirates Stadium.
The 69-year-old has left the door open to a return to management:
beIN SPORTS @beINSPORTS
ARSENE WENGER EXCLUSIVE
“I can’t live with the fact that I’ll never be on the bench again. I might go for an intermediate position. I would like to experience one more time the intensity of a competition.”
It would be a big surprise were he to take another job in the Premier League, where he would have to play against Arsenal.
But there are likely a number of clubs in Europe who could benefit hugely from his experience and expertise.
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