Tuesday 22 May 2018

Wenger open to making move 'upstairs' for next role

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Photo: Reuters
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Photo: Reuters

Jermey Wilson

Arsene Wenger has given the clearest indication yet that he will seriously consider stepping away from front-line football management at the end of the season to take up the sort of executive role on offer at Paris Saint-Germain.

Although Wenger's first instinct is to manage again - and he thinks some recent assessments of his work are tinged with "age discrimination" - he has also opened a door to the possibility of taking the general manager position in Paris alongside incoming head coach Thomas Tuchel.

"Maybe with a distance I will think, 'No, maybe it's a time to change a little bit direction'. That's what I have to decide. This has been a fantastic period for me, but I have to turn the page and go for the next challenge," said Wenger.

"For sure I will be active - my brain demands work. I like the English saying, 'You have to live every day like it is your last'. One day you will be right."

Wenger is adamant his friendship with PSG president Nasser bin Ghanim Al-Khelaifi, whom he has got to know through his work with beIN Sports, will not influence this next decision.

He has also already received a series of offers in management and, after beginning his career in that role some 34 years ago for Nancy, is still drawn to the idea of returning to the touchline.

Beach

"I don't look very good on the beach," said Wenger. "I like green grass. I like to work on it every day. I didn't miss a training session in 22 years. I never stayed in my office. That is something that I will miss.

"I keep myself fit. We have staff games - I can still play. I would pick myself every week. People look at your age and make an issue of it. It becomes a bit discrimination. They don't really look how you work and perform. They look, 'Oh, he is old'."

Wenger confirmed that Laurent Koscielny will kiss the World Cup finals after undergoing surgery on his ruptured Achilles tendon. The Frenchman will not return to training until December.

Meanwhile, Mauricio Pochettino has dismissed the suggestion that Tottenham Hotspur are under greater financial pressure than their rivals to qualify for the Champions League, even though they are due to move into their £850m new stadium next season.

Spurs are only two points ahead of fifth-placed Chelsea as they head into the final two matches, playing Newcastle United tonight and Leicester City on Sunday.

Pochettino has urged his players to "die" to get over the line and qualify for Europe's elite club competition for the third season in a row.

© Daily Telegraph, London

Telegraph.co.uk

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