Keeping Arsenal competitive during barren years remains Arsene Wenger's most important achievement in his 18-year reign

Wenger saw the nine-year trophy drought end last season with the FA Cup victory

Arsene Wenger believes keeping Arsenal competitive in their barren years has been the most important achievement of his reign.

Winning last season's FA Cup final gave the Gunners their first piece of silverware in nine years, a trophy drought which had seen some question whether the 64-year-old Frenchman was still the right man to take the club forward.

Having delivered three Barclays Premier League titles since taking the reins in 1996, Wenger has also overseen a move to the Emirates Stadium - a decision which left the club unable to compete financially with other title rivals for almost a decade.

In the intervening years after leaving Highbury, Wenger still managed to guide Arsenal to top-four finishes in every season and finally ended his trophy jinx with a 3-2 win over Hull in May.

With the purse strings also loosened as the loans taken out to build their new home were repaid, Wenger has finally been able to flex his muscles in the transfer market, breaking the club's transfer record last year to sign Mesut Ozil and acquiring Chile forward Alexis Sanchez this summer.

 

But it was those years of battling against free-spending sides like Chelsea and Manchester City, as well as rivals such as Manchester United and Liverpool, which Wenger admits he may remember more fondly in the years to come.

"I accepted the challenge when I signed my contract knowing what would happen," he said.

"Personally, I think it was the most sensitive and important period of my career here - it was exciting to keep the club at the level with less resources.

"Did we do well or not? The only thing I can say is that we were consistent at that level but maybe we lacked some quality to really win it.

"The only thing I can assure you is that I gave absolutely everything to do as well as I could. Is it enough? You'll never know. Could someone have done better? You never know."

Read more: Arsenal rivalling Spurs for Schneiderlin
Wenger hits back at Gerrard's Suarez jibe
Atletico rule out move for Cazorla

With the FA Cup success behind him, Wenger penned another contract extension at the club, with the new three-year deal taking him until 2017.

Negotiations over the deal were lengthy and, although Wenger is adamant he always wanted to sign, he would not be drawn on whether victory in the cup final played a part in his decision.

"I don't want to answer that question," he replied when asked if there would have been doubt over his future without the trophy win.

"Was it always going to happen? Certainly. I always said the same thing, I want to think that I have done well for the club. My motivation was never at stake, I always wanted to stay.

"But as well I wanted to feel that I had done a good job. The fact that we could not win was going on my mind and it was important for me to feel like I was doing a decent job.

"I never look behind me at what is done. I look in front of me. I'm always turned forward. We have won the cup but we want to win more and we want to come back and fight for more, what is done is done."

PA

Suggested Topics
Sport
wimbledonScot will face Ivo Karlovic next
Sport
football
News
Hillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test