June 21, 2021

Wenger: We didn’t know who was in charge of Arsenal when I left

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The Frenchman has revealed there was real uncertainty at the Gunners when he decided to move on

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted he no longer knew who was in charge of the club when he left the Emirates in 2018.

Having first joined the club in 1996, Wenger saw plenty of change over his 22-year tenure with the Gunners and guided the side to 17 pieces of silverware. 

Wenger’s final years at Arsenal were however shrouded in fan discontent and uncertainty behind the scenes, with the Frenchman revealing that upon his exit he no longer knew who ran things at the Emirates.

Despite that stinging observation, Wenger refrained from comparing the club’s state after his exit to that of Manchester United‘s after Sir Alex Ferguson moved on. 

“I don’t know, it’s not for me to judge. But what I see is that the club have started to reinvest a lot, and things started off badly,” Wenger told Canal+.

“There was disunity. We no longer knew who was in charge and that’s never good. Now they’ve created a unit, and now it’s about making good technical decisions.

“You have to find some form of stability and balance. That will be the job of [Mikel] Arteta, who must find the balance between defending and attacking.

“Mikel Arteta does a good job, yes. The club has regained its values, but it is in the long term that we will see if the values will continue to be represented. Before, Arsenal was respected because we gave young people a chance.”

Asked if Arsenal consulted him on their decision to hire Arteta after the sacking of Unai Emery, Wenger added: “No. When you leave a club, at the beginning you have to cut completely. But he called me and I wished him luck.”

Wenger is currently working in a role for FIFA and also recently weighed in on his relationship with Jose Mourinho – describing their fiery friendship as something more suited to kindergarten. 

Despite a recent 1-0 loss against Manchester City, Arsenal have started the new season in decent fashion and currently sit fifth after five games. 

The Gunners next face Rapid Wien in the Europa League on Thursday before backing up in the Premier League against Leicester City on Sunday.