Wenger keen on Qatar 2022 role
Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has declared his interest in managing a team at the next World Cup – but does the Frenchman still have what it takes?
Wenger has not had a managerial job since leaving Arsenal in 2018 following 22 years of service with the North London side.
The first half of his reign was an unqualified success as he won three Premier League titles, the last championship of which saw them go the entire league season unbeaten.
Not only was the trophy haul fantastic, but he was also a pioneer in the game, ending the drinking culture at Highbury and making drastic changes to the players’ diets.
He revolutionised player training methods and nutrition and was the first to reap the rewards from it.
He was also one of the first managers to dig out gems from the foreign market.
ARSENE WENGER EXCLUSIVE
"I can't live with the fact that I'll never be on the bench again. I might go for an intermediate position. I would like to experience one more time the intensity of a competition."#beINWenger pic.twitter.com/RSPdhC1EMJ
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS) September 2, 2019
The likes of Patrick Vieira, Nicolas Anelka, Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg were relatively unknown punts when joining the Gunners, but Wenger had a penchant for spotting potential in those players and turning them into superstars.
However, the second half of his tenure was defined by his teams having a soft underbelly and struggling to challenge for major honours.
Ironically, what saw him fall short was an inability to innovate and adapt – the qualities which endeared him to so many when he entered English football as an unknown in 1996.
Now though, it appears he is ready to make a return to management and has targeted an international job for the next World Cup.
“I could see myself working for a team,” he told Middle Eastern sports broadcaster Bein Sports, where he has been working as a pundit.
“I will have enough time (and) distance with my last job (to give me perspective), and I would not be against that.”
Obviously, there will be some scepticism, but international football may actually suit Wenger’s methods in the modern day game.
The Frenchman always seemed reluctant to spend big money at Arsenal and it was only in his latter days at the club, when he had literally no choice, that he slashed the cash.
He never looked overtly comfortable with the rat-race, 24-hour nature of modern management in the Premier League.
With international football, Wenger can revert back to pure coaching and instil some of the great football his Arsenal team were synonymous with playing.
Of course, it would be a risk if any nation decided to him on – he will be 72 when the World Cup comes around in Qatar and it is likely to be his last opportunity in management.
Yet approaching Wenger, who is still very highly respected in the footballing world, would be very tempting for a lot of nations, and could be a great boost to those players involved.
His knowledge of world football is also sublime – he could walk into a job of any size and have a good idea of the players at his disposal.
He might not have been a roaring success in his latter days at Arsenal, but there are still a lot of good qualities that could be utilised – and they almost seem too good to go to waste.