Monaco are considering making an approach for Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger, whose future beyond this season is still unclear.
The French league club’s Russian billionaire owner, Dmitry Rybolovlev, has made Wenger his preferred choice as next Monaco manager if, as expected, Claudio Ranieri departs at the end of the season. Monaco would offer Wenger an annual salary of €15million (£12.3m), putting him among the highest-paid coaches in world football.
Wenger coached Monaco from 1987 to 1994, winning the French title in 1988, and the ambitious Rybolovlev would like to tempt Wenger back to his former club if the manager does not agree a new deal at Arsenal. Monaco are currently 10 points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1.
With just four games left in Arsenal’s season, Wenger has still not signed a new contract, although he has repeatedly said that he has given the club “his word” that he would stay at the Emirates. A new contract, thought to be three years long, has been on offer to Wenger for months. When asked at his press conference yesterday morning whether he might fancy the job at Manchester United, Wenger said: “I fancy the job here.”
If Wenger did leave for Monaco this summer it would bring to an end his 18-year tenure at Arsenal. There have been 10 dismissals of Premier League managers so far this season and Wenger yesterday said that increasing impatience in football would eventually compromise the quality of coaches.
“If you want quality people in any job, you need to give them time to develop and to become good, or people with the quality will not come into our job any more,” Wenger said. “The average [job life] expectancy at an English professional club at the moment is 11 months, and that is quite unstable. Every guy who is married has a family, will have a big hesitancy before he goes into that game. That means the quality of the coaching and the quality of the managing is under threat, because it will not attract quality people any more.”
Wenger only sees the problem getting worse. “The trend is that rotation will become quicker and quicker. You know, if you get to a point where you sack your manager with every defeat, the guy who comes in will lose games as well.”
Arsenal are still waiting on a response from full-back Bacary Sagna, whose contract also expires this summer. A new deal has been on offer for some time but Wenger admitted yesterday that talks are at a standstill. “At the moment [talks] are not progressing,” Wenger said. “We know what we want from him, he knows what is on the table and that’s where we are. The ball is in his camp, and he needs to come back to us.”
Arsenal face Newcastle United on Monday night but the game will come too soon for midfielder Abou Diaby, who is back in training after a long injury lay-off but suffered a “minor” setback playing for Arsenal Under-21s against Chelsea on Tuesday. “He had a little groin problem,” said Wenger.