Arsene Wenger says he has not returned to the Emirates at all since leaving as Arsenal manager in 2018 because he does not want to be a distraction or a problem for those that have followed him.
The Gunners legend was in charge of the club from 1996-2018, winning three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups.
The Frenchman also helped build Arsenal into one of the biggest clubs in Europe as they moved from Highbury to the Emirates, but he has chosen not to even visit the stadium since leaving his post as manager.
Wenger says it is loyalty to the Gunners that has seen him turn down a string of offers from other clubs, while it is also out of love for Arsenal that he has not been back to the Emirates as he does not want to be a problem for the regimes that came after him.
‘No I haven’t been there. After 22 years I had maybe arrived at the end of the road and people wanted a change, which I can understand,’ said Wenger at the launch of former Arsenal co-owner David Dein’s new book.
‘I was always loyal to the club and turned many, many clubs down because I felt my life is definitely linked with the club.
‘The club has chosen a different direction, which I can understand completely and sometimes you need to change completely to have a new start. Me and my presence there could have been a problem.
‘I stayed away completely to give the club a chance to rebuild a new connection with a new manager. That’s why I never talked about Arsenal and never came back to Arsenal because I didn’t want to be a presence that was maybe not good for the club.’
Wenger has been happy to comment on the current Arsenal team now, though, and is very impressed with the side that Mikel Arteta has built.
‘I would say they are moving in the right direction. I honestly think there is no weak position in the team… they are young, promising players and they have bought well this year,’ he said.
‘There is no completely dominating team this season and Arsenal has a chance with the potential that is there.
‘We used to be in the top four and why not again? You cannot even rule out the fact that they can fight for the title and hopefully they can do it.’
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