22 years after joining Arsenal where next for Arsene Wenger?

Matthew Crist by Matthew Crist / 12 October 2018, 11:44

Having openly admitted that he is enjoying his time-off since leaving Arsenal at the end of last season it looks like Arsene Wenger is prepared to wait a little longer before deciding on his future; but that hasn’t stopped speculation mounting as to his next move.

After taking charge of the Gunners in October 1996 Wenger would lead the North London club to a period of unprecedented success in the late 1990s and early part of the 2000s; taking the club to three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups; ensuring he will always be seen as a legend among Arsenal fans.

He was also a huge influence in Arsenal’s big money move from Highbury to the state-of-the-art Emirates Stadium with Arsenal paying £390 million to move from the 38,000 capacity Highbury to their new 60,000 seater home; something he thought was vital if the Gunners were compete with some of the biggest spending sides in Europe.

But having stepped-down in May after almost 22 years in charge, the Frenchman had initially been expected to make a decision regarding his future after his media commitments at the summer’s World Cup.

"People want to know what the future is about, for me that is completely normal,” Wenger has said recently.

“I honestly don't know what I will do. Will I take a little rest? I will continue to work, that is for sure. At the moment I'm not ready to commit to anything else."

It’s fair to say that Wenger, one of the most successful and respected managers of his time, will not be short of offers, but just what options might be available to the 68-year old once he decides to return from his summer sabbatical?

Having cut his coaching teeth in Japan as the J-League burst onto the scene in the early 1990s, attracting big names such as Gary Lineker and xxx, an opportunity in Asia might be an option. Japan has been mentioned as a potential destination for Wenger who credits the culture in Japan for improving his temperament and rediscovering his passion for the game.

And for a man who still believes he has plenty to offer when it comes to coaching the riches of the Chinese Super League could lure him back to that part of the world. The league has vast wealth and is growing in status with every new signing and there is no doubt Wenger would be a huge coup, meaning he could earn serious money.

Even before he’d left his post at Arsenal reports were doing the rounds that he’d received a stunningly lucrative contract offer from a Chinese Super League side, understood to be worth in excess of Marcello Lippi’s £24m-a-year deal as boss of the China national team; though as such a fierce competitor he may well feel he still has plenty to offer in Europe.

There is, of course, the possibility of international management and with over 30 years’ experience in the game - much of which was at the highest level - there is little doubt that Wenger is ideally suited to taking charge of a national side.

"Maybe, yes I will do it at some stage, but until now I like to be involved every day in the life of a club," Wenger has said in the past, however, with his native France claiming the game’s biggest prize in Russia the chances of him taking charge of Les Blues look slim for the moment at least – meaning he may have to start elsewhere.

Whether Wenger would be offered the chance of taking over at another Premier League club is a matter for debate, considering his Arsenal connections; something which few managers have been able to do after so many years in one job and perhaps why he was recently priced at 40/1 to be the next Manchester United Manager; meaning the likelihood is that he’ll take a role on the continent instead.

That’s certainly the consensus if you believe what you read in the press as in recent weeks he has been linked with a number of continental sides who may, or may not, be looking for a new manager. Top jobs including the likes of AC Milan, Fenerbahce and the club where he made his name in the game, Monaco.

Some diehard Gunners will no doubt harbour hope of Wenger returning to the Emirates in one capacity or another, either as a Director of Football or maybe in an ambassadorial role, though for someone with the Frenchman’s desire and hunger that may well be some time off, and who could argue that one of the greatest managers in English football still has plenty to offer as a top-flight manager?

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