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Staying at Arsenal for 22-years was ‘a mistake’ says Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger has admitted staying at Arsenal for 22-years was the biggest regret of his career.

Wenger left The Emirates at the end of last season after over two decades in charge of the Gunners, being replaced by former Sevilla and PSG manager Unai Emery.

After taking over from Bruce Rioch as the club’s permanent manager on October 1, 1996, Wenger guided Arsenal to three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups. He was also responsible for guiding the Gunners to the only ever unbeaten Premier League season in 2003/04 when his side won 26 and drew 12 of their 38 top flight games.

Despite his successes however, Wenger left The Emirates before the end of his contract having failed to finish in the top four for the second consecutive year – and the Frenchman now says he regrets letting his tenure in North London last as long as it did.

Asked what the biggest regret of his career was in an interview with French outlet RTL, Wenger said: “Perhaps staying at the same club for 22 years.

“I am someone who likes to move around a lot, but I also like a challenge. I’ve been a prisoner of my own challenge at times.”

He continued: “I regret having sacrificed everything I did because I realise I’ve hurt a lot of people around me. I’ve neglected a lot of people. I’ve neglected my family, I’ve neglected many close ones.

“Deep down though, the obsessed man is selfish in his pursuit of what he loves. He ignores a lot of other things. But it’s a bone to chase at the same time.”

During his time with Arsenal, Wenger was responsible for bringing some of the Premier League’s finest ever players to England – including the likes of Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira.

Both Henry and Vieira are now following in the footsteps of Wenger in the world of football management – Henry with Belgium and Vieira with Nice – and the former Arsenal boss believes both have what it takes to emulate his own successes in the game.

“Often, I’m asked if Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira will be good managers and I always answer yes. They have all the qualities; they’re intelligent, they know football, they have excellent skillset, but do they want to sacrifice what needs to be sacrificed. It’s an obsession which bounces around your head day and night.”


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