Arsene Wenger Profile
|Short Name||Le Professeur|
|Born||Oct 22, 1949|
Arsene Wenger is a manager who revolutionised soccer by introducing new levels of fitness and technique to his teams. Now in a global development role with FIFA, here's his long and successful story.
Arsene Wenger is a soccer coach and consultant, widely accepted to have modernised Arsenal FC and established the Gunners as one of the Premier League's Big Six.
The Frenchman had a modest playing career with Mulhouse and Strasbourg, however it was in management where he discovered his true calling. He learned his craft at Nancy, Monaco and Nagoya Grampus Eight in Japan, but it was at Arsenal where he made the most impact. Between 1996 and 2018, Wenger became the club's most successful and longest-serving manager ever.
The team known as "The Invincibles", the Arsenal team Wenger assembled in 2003/04 is one of the greatest sides in Premier League history. "The Invincibles" are known by that name as they went an entire season unbeaten. Their 49-game unbeaten run finally came to an end against Manchester United on October 24, 2004.
After leaving Arsenal, Wenger was appointed head of global football development at world football's governing body FIFA. Wenger remains one of the most well-respected figures in the game.
Breaking records with Arsenal
Wenger arrived at Arsenal in 1996 and immediately started the process of turning the historic Highbury club into a thoroughly modern soccer team. He removed the club's drinking culture and imposed new levels of fitness and preparation.
The Frenchman had a close working relationship with Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein and was trusted with bringing a more continental approach to operations. The pair were likened to "Lennon and McCartney" by former Arsenal managing director Keith Edelman in terms of being able to bring the best out of each other. Wenger admitted considering quitting the Gunners when Dein left the club in 2007.
But Wenger remained, excited by the task of managing at Arsenal's new Emirates Stadium, that himself and Dein had been influential in securing.
Wenger had a reputation for bringing in talented players and turning them into world-class performers such as Frenchmen Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit plus Dutchmen Marc Overmars and Robin van Persie.
"Le Professeur'' is also known for his encyclopaedic knowledge of the scouting system and Wenger took pleasure in finding bargains. Some of Wenger's cost-effective buys include Freddie Ljungberg for £3million, Cesc Fabregas for £2.88million, Kolo Toure for £167,000 and Nicolas Anelka for £437,000.
Wenger was able to achieve his early success with a strong spine of English players, including David Seaman, Tony Adams, Ray Parlour and Ian Wright.
It didn't take long for Wenger to secure the first of three Premier League championship wins, with the Gunners claiming the trophy in 1997/98. The title was secured by a point from Man Utd, setting in place a rivalry that would last for years.
A second Premier League title arrived in 2001/02 as the Gunners finished seven points clear of second placed Liverpool. Arsenal picked up the double too, beating Chelsea 2-0 in the FA Cup at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Arsenal had remained unbeaten away in the league but the best was yet to come.
By 2003/04 much of the good work Wenger had done in moulding Arsenal into an elite force had come to fruition. They won the Premier League without losing a single league match all season. This Arsenal team were dubbed "the Invincibles" and they secured a total of 26 wins, 12 draws and zero defeats. French striker Thierry Henry was top scorer with 39 goals in all competitions.
Wenger also made the FA Cup his own by winning it in 1997/98, 2001/02, 2002/03, 2004/05, 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2016/17. His seven victories made him the most successful manager in the competition.
In 2016, Wenger secured Arsenal's 20th consecutive finish in the top four positions in the Premier League.
Wenger was loyal to Arsenal throughout his tenure, as he rebuffed approaches by top European clubs Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, as well as various English clubs.
As his time at Arsenal drew to a close he was subject to a "Wenger Out" campaign by a section of the Arsenal fanbase upset at results and transfer activity. Wenger described this criticism as "unjustified" and "brutal".
He eventually stood down as Arsenal manager at the end of the 2017/18 season.
Wenger v Ferguson v Mourinho
Arsene Wenger's rivalry with Alex Ferguson of Manchester United is now legendary, with the Gunners and United the only teams to win the Premier League between 1996 and 2001.
It was a rivalry borne of ego, passion and mutual respect that boiled over on and off the pitch on several occasions.
In October 2004, Man Utd beat Arsenal 2-0 at Old Trafford ending the Gunners' record breaking 49-match unbeaten run. After the game, the "Battle of the Buffet" occurred as a brawl took place in the tunnel and Alex Ferguson was hit with a slice of pizza, allegedly thrown by Cesc Fabregas.
"It was chaos in the dressing room and in the tunnel. It was certainly the peak point of the controversy we had with each other on that day," Wenger said later.
Wenger also clashed with then-Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho several times over the years, once quite literally in 2014, when the two met in the technical area. Wenger shoving Mourinho during a fiery match at Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho called Wenger a "specialist in failure". He later said Wenger was a "sweet enemy" with a rivalry built on respect.
Spells in France and Japan
Life as a manager in his native France did not begin easily for Wenger with his Nancy side relegated from Ligue 1 in 1987. But AS Monaco had seen enough of his player fitness regimes and tactical preparations to negotiate his move to the Principality club.
Wenger won the Ligue 1 title in his first season in charge at Monaco with players such as Glenn Hoddle and Mark Hateley. He also won the Coupe de France in 1991 using a superlative strikeforce of Youri Djorkaeff and George Weah.
Wenger was dismissed from the Monaco job in 1994 with the team in 17th spot. He chose to move to Nagoya Grampus Eight in Japan, the former team of England striker Gary Lineker.
He won the J-League Manager of the League in 1995 and a year later claimed the Emperor's Cup for the Japanese side. Two months later, Wenger won the Super Cup, beating Yokohama Marinos 2-0.
However by 1996 the allure of Arsenal proved too much and Wenger left Japan for North London.
In 2015 Wenger separated from his wife, the French ex-Olympic basketball player Annie Brosterhous. They have a daughter Lea.
Wenger is known for his comprehensive interest in the game, often spending hours watching matches from all over the world.
He worked as a football consultant for French broadcasters TF1 from 2004 to 2014, and has been part of the beIN Sports television station since 2016. He is also a world brand ambassador for FIFA World Cup sponsor Castrol.
Reported net worth
Wenger is believed to worth around $48million, whilst collecting a reported yearly salary of $10.4m.