Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger declines offer to take over as France coach after Laurent Blanc resigns
ARSENAL manager Arsène Wenger has turned down the opportunity to coach the French national team following Laurent Blanc's resignation.
Blanc resigned following France's elimination from euro 2012 as his contract came to an end and according to a report on L'Equipe's website, Wenger was on the French Football Federation's shortlist along with Didier Deschamps.
Wenger was approached by FFF president, Noel Le Graet, but declined the offer as he still has two years to run on his contract at the Emirates.
"There are a lot of names," Wenger told Telefoot. "But me, I will be very busy with Arsenal where my contract still runs for two years."
Le Graet and his board are expected to release a statement on their search for a new manager and a number of disciplinary matters relating to players at the Euros later today.
Besides Wenger's rejection of the offer it is also believed that, despite his resignation at Marseilles yesterday, Deschamps is not interested in taking over the French national side.
The club released a statement yesterday which read: "Olympique de Marseilles and Didier Deschamps have finally decided by mutual agreement not to continue working for the 2012-2013 season.
"Olympique de Marseilles thank Didier Deschamps for his work for the team for three years and wish him good luck for the future.
"Didier Deschamps thanks Olympique de Marseilles for their support throughout these last three seasons."
Reports in France suggest that Deschamps does not want to betray Blanc by replacing him and, further to this, his contract with Marseilles prevents him from immediately signing with another side.
Meanwhile, Wenger maintains Arsenal must keep hold of captain Robin van Persie "at all costs" as they look to resolve the Dutchman's long-term future ahead of the new Barclays Premier League season.
The Gunners may have already moved to bring in fresh faces Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski, but there is still work to be done to convince Van Persie to extend his contract past next summer.
Italian champions Juventus have made their interest clear, while Premier League winners Manchester City are said to be ready to put down a £20million offer with more than £200,000-per-week wages for the Holland striker, who is now away on holiday following a disappointing Euro 2012.
Wenger, though, knows just how important Van Persie, 28, is to the club, having netted 37 goals in all competitions as the Gunners eventually secured third place.
Writing in his blog for Eurosport, Wenger said: "We want to keep Robin van Persie at all costs, because we depend on him offensively.
"I have always supported him even in the hardest times, and I hope he will end his career at Arsenal."
Giroud scored 21 goals in 36 league appearances as Montpellier claimed their first Ligue 1 title last season, and will now aim to make an instant impact in England as the Gunners look to deliver a first trophy since 2005.
Wenger is in no doubt the 25-year-old, signed for a reported £13million deal, will fit right in at Emirates Stadium.
"I have known Olivier Giroud for some time," the Frenchman added.
"The first time I saw him, I found he had something intelligent and dangerous. I always said he could score goals and assist his partners.