Arsene Wenger has revealed that he received more job offers than he expected in the wake of announcing his Arsenal departure, with the manager announcing that he will not be in full-time media work next season as he wants to continue to work in football.
Wenger will take charge of his penultimate game as Arsenal manager on Wednesday against Leicester City, with the final match of his near-22 years in charge coming on Sunday against Huddersfield Town.
The identity of Wenger’s replacement at Arsenal remains unknown, with The Independent revealing on Monday that current Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri is the club’s No 1 target, but just as uncertain is Wenger’s own future as he weighs up his options.
Speaking on Tuesday, Wenger revealed that interest in his services has been a bit larger than he imagined.
Asked if he has received any offers since announcing his exit, Wenger answered emphatically: “Yes! More than I expected.
“But I’m not analysing or considering anything. I want to work well here until the last day of my contract.
“For sure I will be active. My brain demands work and is active. I have huge experience in management. Overall, I will work.
“What will I do? I don’t know.”
A number of clubs appear to be on the lookout for new managers this summer, which could trigger something of a merry-go-round come the end of the season. Paris Saint-Germain are believed to be closing in on the announcement of former Borussia Dortmund head coach Thomas Tuchel, while Zinedine Zidane’s future at Real Madrid could yet depend on the outcome of the Champions League final against Liverpool.
But closer to home, Antonio Conte’s future at Chelsea remains bleak, with the Blues having one last chance to qualify for next season’s Champions League after the victory over Liverpool on Sunday kept them in the hunt for the top four, while Mauricio Pochettino has been coy on his future with Spurs beyond the end of the season.
Yet a second job in England is unlikely to appeal to Wenger, given that he would have to face Arsenal – the club that he joined way back in 1996.
“At the moment, that is difficult for me,” he said. “I don’t envisage that.”
But he did use the point to thank his former colleague and friend David Dein, the ex-vice-chairman of Arsenal who identified Wenger as the man to replace Bruce Rioch 22 years ago.
“I would like to finish one of my last press conferences to thank David Dein who brought me here,” Wenger said. “He had a special vision for the future and the Premier League. He gave a foreign manager a chance when no-one knew me.
“He deserves special thanks because he is a special man.”
With Allegri currently in pole position to replace Wenger, plenty of speculation has surrounded the Italian and his future at Juventus, with the Turin-based club all-but-guaranteed a seventh consecutive Serie A title after opening up a six-point lead with two games left to play. That has triggered rumours that Allegri will leave the club in the summer, while former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique is also being linked with replacing Wenger, although the Spaniard’s extraordinary wage demands of around £15m-a-year – nearly double what Wenger currently earns – is believed to be putting the Gunners’ hierarchy off.
Wenger did, however, give his seal of approval.
“All these guys are very competent,” he said. “As an Arsenal fan I will support the man to do it.
“I don’t want to come out publicly on that. If they want my advice, I will give it them.”
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