Arsene Wenger has explained – to Jose Mourinho – why he “would have considered” taking an executive role at Arsenal.
Wenger left Arsenal as manager at the end of the 2017/18 season after 22 phenomenal years in north London.
He has not taken on a coaching position since, remaining one of the best managers available on the market.
At 70 it seems unlikely Wenger will pursue another position that requires such daily dedication, the Frenchman instead lending his vast experience to FIFA as their head of global football.
But in a Q&A session with The Guardian, Mourinho asked his former rival about whether he would have stayed at Arsenal had he been offered the chance.
“I had the opportunity to get to know you at Uefa and Fifa meetings and dinners,” said the Tottenham manager.
“With your culture and vision, I believe you have the qualities to be a top exec, such as a CEO or director of football, at a club.
“Would you have ever considered such a role at Arsenal or was your desire always to remain on the pitch?”
Wenger offered a measured answer.
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“I would have considered being on the board at Arsenal as an adviser,” he said.
“I believe that honestly there is a deficit of knowledge in the big clubs of top, top-level competition and games of top-level sport. And I believe we have seen recently that there are many ways to be successful in football.
“For example, there’s the Bayern way, where the whole success and continuity relies on people who know the values of the club, and they transfer that from generation to generation: Beckenbauer, Hoeness, Rummenigge.
“Or there are models in England of quick money and quick success. Both can work. I like the fact that a club is first an identity and has knowledge that is transferred from generation to generation. So that’s why I saw things that way.”