Arsene Wenger admits he should have called time on 22-year Arsenal career sooner
Arsene Wenger has lifted the lid on his 22-year reign as Arsenal manager in a candid interview to broadcaster RTL in which he concedes he may have stayed in the job for too long.
The Frenchman departed the Gunners this summer after failing to guide them back into the Champions League, and following a sixth-placed finish in the Premier League, the club appointed Unai Emery as Wenger’s successor.
The 68-year-old opened up about the sacrifices he was forced to make after joining Arsenal in October 1996, and while he has little idea over his next career move, he revealed his internal struggle to quit the club he still adores.
Interviewer Christine Kelly asked Wenger what his biggest mistake in management has been, to which he replied: “Perhaps staying at the same club for 22 years. I'm someone who likes to move around a lot, but I also like a challenge.
“I've been a prisoner of my own challenge at times.”
Arsenal won the Premier League in Wenger’s first full season in charge, with two further domestic league titles and four FA Cups being won by May 2005.
But the second half of his reign was far less successful, with the Gunners forced to cut their cloth accordingly in the transfer market following the move to the Emirates Stadium.
Wenger salutes the Arsenal fans one last time in his final match against HuddersfieldGetty Images
Wenger did manage to lift the FA Cup trophy three more times towards the end of his tenure, but his failure to create another title-winning side ultimately led to the fanbase becoming divided.
Wenger continued: “I regret having sacrificed everything I did because I realise I've hurt a lot of people around me. I've neglected a lot of people. I've neglected my family, I've neglected many close ones.
“Deep down though, the obsessed man is selfish in his pursuit of what he loves. He ignores a lot of other things. But it's a bone to chase at the same time.”