Arsene Wenger exclusive: Manchester United wanted me to take over as manager

Arsene Wenger
(Image credit: PA Images)

Arsene Wenger will always be remembered for his game-changing success at Arsenal, and the intense rivalry his side shared with Manchester United around the turn of the millennium. 

It's no secret that the Gunners boss was  headhunted for a a number of top positions in European football during that era, including Bayern, Juventus, PSG and the England and France national teams. 

Wenger 319

(Image credit: Future)

But what many fans won't know is that the former Gunners boss was also approached to take over at Old Trafford during his career. In an exclusive interview with the November 2020 issue of FourFourTwo – which is in shops today and also available to order here (opens in new tab). Wenger is asked whether either of the Manchester clubs ever made an approach for his services. 

City never, United yes – I cannot tell you exactly when!” he tells FFT with a smile. It is believed to have been when Sir Alex Ferguson nearly retired in 2002. Despite the allure of taking over from one of the most successful managers in British football, and at one of the richest clubs in the world, Wenger wasn't interested for a moment.

“No, because I was at Arsenal,” he insists. “You know, I had a real love story with Arsenal. My life is red and white. I felt when I came to the club that there was this special charm inside it. It was a good mixture between respect for tradition, respect for people, and not being scared to sometimes face unpopular judgements."

Despite never taking the reins at United, Wenger enjoyed remarkable success in England, claiming three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups in a 22-year spell with his beloved Arsenal. Football fans may wonder if he could have won more had he made the switch, but his legacy in red and white is not up for debate. 

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