Arsene Wenger has admitted his ‘regret’ at not leaving Arsenal sooner and says he ‘should have gone somewhere else’.
Wenger became the longest serving manager of the Premier League era following a 22-year reign in charge of the North London side, winning three league titles and the FA Cup on a record seven occasions during his time with the Gunners.
The Frenchman’s greatest successes came during the late nineties and early 2000s, with Arsenal’s last title under Wenger – the 2003/04 unbeaten ‘Invincibles’ campaign – coming 14 years before his eventual departure from the Emirates in 2018.
That following period included a nine-year drought without silverware and Wenger has admitted he regrets not taking on a new challenge.
“I identified myself completely with the club – that was the mistake I made,” Wenger said in a new documentary about him and his Invincible season. “My fatal flaw is I love too much where I am … where I was. I regret it. I should have gone somewhere else.”
Wenger spoke on the lack of success that followed Arsenal‘s unbeaten league season and of rising tensions inside the club’s board, revealing how he had offers from France, England and several major European clubs – including Manchester United – to leave the Gunners.
“Sometimes I wonder – was something broken after that Invincible season?” said Wenger. “2007 was a decisive point. It was the first time I could feel there were tensions inside the board. I was torn between being loyal to the club and being loyal to David [Dein]. I still today wonder if I did the right thing because life was never exactly the same after. I thought, ‘I have now to go to the end of this project’.
“I could have gone to the French national team. The English national team twice or three times even. I could have gone twice to Real Madrid. I could have gone to Juventus, Paris St Germain, even Man United.”