Sunday 17 December 2017

'Pep Guardiola wanted to play under me at Arsenal' - Arsene Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger attends a news conference prior to the Champions League Group F soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and FC Arsenal in Munich
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger attends a news conference prior to the Champions League Group F soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and FC Arsenal in Munich

Mark Bryans

Pep Guardiola once harboured ambitions to play for Arsenal, Arsene Wenger has claimed.

The Bayern Munich coach enjoyed a glittering career as a player at Barcelona before a spell in Italy's Serie A - but it could have been different for the Catalan.

Wenger will come up against Guardiola on Wednesday night looking for a second victory over Bayern in a fortnight to keep alive their hopes of progressing into the Champions League knockout stages.

And, during his pre-match media conference, Wenger said he could have once managed the former Spain international in north London after his spell at the Nou Camp had come to an end.

"He wanted to play with me as a coach," Wenger said.

"He wanted to play for Arsenal. I met him, he was 30-31 back then.

"I can't really remember, after that he went to Italy and I had players like (Patrick) Vieira and (Emmanuel) Petit who were still young and played for the national team as well."

Instead of joining Arsenal and Wenger, Guardiola went on to play for Brescia and Roma before stints with Al-Ahli in Qatar and Mexican outfit Dorados.

He then started out on a coaching career that has seen him win 19 major honours at Barcelona and Bayern.

"What I admire is that his team are very positive, very attacking," Wenger said of the 44-year-old.

"He has a positive mentality and a positive attitude towards football. That is why he adapted very well to Bayern - he is a great coach."

Press Association

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport