Tottenham legend Glenn Hoddle has been speaking to FourFourTwo exclusively about what it was like to work with Arsene Wenger - long before the iconic Frenchman joined Arsenal.
Speaking in FFT's Players Lounge series – you can order the latest mag here – Hoddle revealed how he turned down moving to PSG - who were managed by the late Gerard Houllier - in order to link up with Wenger at Monaco. The Spurs midfielder moved from north London to the south of France - and he felt so bad for Houllier that he rang him in person to apologise.
"I had agreed a deal with PSG, but the two clubs just couldn’t agree on a fee and in the end Arsene [Wenger] and Monaco came in and I went across the sea then," Hoddle said. "I had already looked at houses and schools for my children in Paris, so I was thinking I was going to PSG where Gerard Houllier was the manager.
"But then it suddenly just turned around. Within two days Monaco had agreed the deal and that was it, I signed for Monaco.
"I flew over and met him in Beach Plaza in Monaco. When we sat down, he started talking about how he wanted to play. Abroad, there was the number 10 role whereas in England we didn’t really have that position. Arsene sold it really well to me and I just had a gut feeling where I thought, ‘This feels right, I want to play for this man.'
"But then, still, I had a difficult phone call with Gerard Houllier to make. My agent said he would do it, but I said, 'No, I can’t let you make the phone call, I have got to talk to him myself.' It was tough, but I was able to explain that I would have gone to PSG if the two clubs had agreed a deal."
Hoddle played in France for four years, before moving onto Swindon Town and then Chelsea. The midfielder then took up coaching and landed the England job in the late 90s - where it was noted that he was still as good technically as some of the players in his squad.
The former playmaker says that he stayed in excellent condition while working for Wenger - as well as picking up more of a tactical understanding of the no.10 role while in France.
"The first game I played under Arsene he said, 'You’re coming back too deep. We have two players that can win you the ball and they’ll give it to you. We want you to do your work up there,'" Hoddle recalls now.
"It was lovely to get this appreciation of creative football and it allowed you to play to your strengths. It was different from what I was mainly used to in England, also with things like nutrition and the way to look after yourself physically with things like warm-downs, stretching and massages.
"I felt as fit as I’ve ever been, with all the things that Arsene was doing."
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