REVEALED: Did you know Arsene Wenger once had talks with Man Utd to replace Sir Alex ferguson? Here’s the story
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has confirmed he held talks with Manchester United over the possibility of succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson but said he wanted to remain loyal to the Gunners.
The Frenchman fought tooth and nail with Ferguson during his first five years in England and the pair were enemies until midway through Wenger’s 22 reign at the Gunners.
Ferguson announced in 2001 that he would stand down at the end of the 01/02 campaign and United started the process of speaking to potential replacements including Sven-Goran Eriksson.
However, Wenger has confirmed he met with then United chairman Martin Edwards about the role but said he couldn’t leave Arsenal.
‘Yes I met Martin Edwards,’ confirmed Wenger.
‘Many people came to see me but I was always loyal to my club.’ As neutrals, we should be glad that nothing came of that. Had it, we would have been denied one of modern football’s great rivalries.’
Arsenal’s trip to Old Trafford on Sunday will be Wenger’s last to the Theatre of Dreams as Gunners boss after he confirmed he will be stepping down.
Wenger won three titles in his first eight years at Arsenal but United eventually won the war with Sir Alex adding a further ten titles to his collection during the Frenchman’s reign.
The 67-year-old admits he misses the days of the rivalry but says he appreciates more now how good United were. ‘Manchester United is a massive club with fantastic players,’ said Wenger.
‘When I look back now I realise what a great team they were. They had Giggs, Scholes, Beckham, Ronaldo and Rooney, all young players.
‘Then you see what they have done later and that shows the challenge we always had. They had an unbelievable team. I realise that better at a distance now than I did at the time’