Monday, May 20, 2024

Wenger’s interview with L’Equipe – full transcript

L’Equipe: Did you not sense doubt creeping in to the dressing room, and the dressing room losing its faith?

Wenger: No, and that’s what makes me optimistic, the fact the squad has remained positive, that they haven’t questioned the ideas. During the difficult period, something has maybe been forged; there has been a global evaluation that has taken time. I also needed this squad to give something back to me.

L’Equipe: You have said that in order to leave a mark you need to win trophies…

Wenger: Have we not won trophies? What you also need is to be consistent at the highest level. This club has participated in the Champions League for 14 seasons. Can one really talk about blank years? Between 2005 and 2011, we have played a final, a semi-final and two quarter-finals. But I don’t want to settle for that. I would have liked to win the Champions League and I still dream of doing so. We have always flirted with trophies, and fought for the top places in a fantastic league.

L’Equipe: Have you feared for your job?

Wenger: No, that is something you store somewhere deep down, but you don’t speculate about it. There has been no indication from within the club that would make me think about that.

L’Equipe: You even received an ovation at the last AGM, whereas a year ago you were heavily criticised…

Wenger: People have understood that I am doing what I can and that, in the face of a storm, I have been solid and I’ve stayed on course. They also know that I was working on a long-term project and that I turned down some huge offers in order to accompany it. People are grateful for that. They have opted for unity and shown faith. I have been loyal. They know I am still 100 percent committed to this club.

L’Equipe: But it looks like you are obliged to rebuild once more. Just like at the start…

Wenger: It’s true, a new cycle is starting. When we left Highbury, I set my sights on a long-term project with a young team. It didn’t produce the results I’d hoped for. Yes, we have to rebuild.

L’Equipe: With you? Will you embark on another long spell?

Wenger: No, as far as I am concerned, we are now talking pretty short term, that’s obvious. But whether it is with me or someone else, that changes nothing. The person that comes in after me will need foundations on which he can obtain success.

L’Equipe: Will you still be here in 15 years?

Wenger: No.

L’Equipe: And next season?

Wenger: We’ll look at things at the end of this one. I still have two years to run on my contract.

L’Equipe: Your name has been circulating for a few months in Paris…

Let it circulate.

L’Equipe: You are very close to PSG’s Qatari owners. That could be helpful, no?

Wenger: There’s no point in trying to lead me down that path. I told you I am totally implicated in what I am doing. I don’t for a second have a desire to leave Arsenal. And the difficulties we had at the start of the season have only sharpened my desire to fight. When they asked for my opinion, I encouraged the PSG owners to have faith in Antoine Kombouare, who is a very good coach. There you go, just because we are friends doesn’t mean we are going to work together. Sometimes it is even better to avoid it in order to stay friends.

L’Equipe: Why has your marriage with Arsenal worked so well?

The meeting came about at the right time. The club needed someone to take on a vast project and I have taken an active role. I like courage and this club is courageous. In 1996, for a club that represented the tradition of English football, going and getting an unknown Frenchman from Japan was a bit rash. So historically, Arsenal have been courageous, innovatory. They try to do things with class and style. That’s why I defend them with so much fierceness. Because of these values. They mean a lot to me and I like to defend them.

L’Equipe: Your personal investment goes way beyond the pitch. Do you consider yourself the architect of modern-day Arsenal?

Wenger: I have had the fortune of working with complete freedom. We have established a style of play, constructed a new training complex, a new stadium. At the end of the day, whoever is the owner or the manager, the club has a viable model. Arsenal do not need to worry about investors running away because we only spend what we earn. It hasn’t been easy to keep our standards up whilst spending 500 million euros on the Emirates Stadium, including 150 million on the pitch alone. Bayern Munich, for example, spent one euro, a symbolic sum, on their pitch at the Allianz Arena. At this moment in time, there’s only 116 million left to reimburse. Arsenal can sleep in peace.

L’Equipe: What would you consider to be your personal stamp after 15 years? Have you participated in the technical evolution of the English game?

It would be presumptuous for me to claim that. Sometimes I hear it said. What counts is the mark I leave on the club, the style of play that has been adopted at every level, by all the youth teams. With time, like Ferguson at Manchester United, I have become part of the historic memory of the game. The real luxury in this job is having time.

L’Equipe: Does 15 years feel like a long time?

Wenger: In fact, the time goes by at the speed of light, and all of these years haven’t at all changed the fact that I’m always looking ahead to the next match, hoping it will be a perfect match but knowing it won’t be. 15 years have gone by but I remain addicted to the next match, like a drug.

L’Equipe: Why are you smiling?

Wenger: I was thinking about a 10 year old kid who might have come to watch Arsenal for the first time with his dad in 1996. I was thinking that he’d now be 25, and he will have known only one chap on the bench. That makes me think I’m the manager of an entire generation.


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Amazing man, will be a truely sad day when he does leave, though lets hope thats not for sometime!


ARSEBLOG own submission on AW yesterday: “He’s a frustrating old goat but he’s our frustrating old goat” Bless.


Well it just shows how the press never let the “facts” get in the way of a good story. To me it just shows what a strong, admirable man Wenger is. No one could have foreseen the russian gangster coming in to CSKA Fulham to launder his money and then the arabs from middle eastlands. Let’s face it, without this form of cheating, financial doping, we would have won a lot more. Two hundred million debt in one season! If I were a man city fan, I’d be ashamed. We Gooners are blessed with this great man at the helm.… Read more »


I hope the anti-Wenger brigade read this and are full of shame. This man demands respect for what he’s done for Arsenal Football Club


I’m guessing the French department gets more funding than the Russian department?

Ben Savage

I know exactly what he means by that last point. First came to Highbury when I was 9, I’m now 24. I can’t possibly imagine anyone else in the dug out! What a legend.


Me too.. Started following Arsenal when I was 12. Now I’m 27..


And me… I started in 1994, when I was 8, so I remember Graham, Houston, Rioch and Rice before Wenger, but I also remember going to the Sunderland game in 1996, right before Wenger came. Not to mention being told of his appointment by my Dad, and asking something along the lines of “Arsène who?”


I am also that 10 year old who started in the Wenger era, right after Euro 96.


Despite the lack of monkeys driving cars, Russian girlfriends and running old dears over coming through in the translation, what a great interview, and thanks for putting it out there for us.

This would never have happened with an English journo, so it’s refreshing to read his words as reported.


150 euros on the pitch?!

Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

150 million Euros mate!

Samuel Hills

That kid is me, and so many other Arsenal fans. We have an awful lot to be thankful to Mr Wenger for.


” I like courage and this club is courageous. In 1996, for a club that represented the tradition of English football, going and getting an unknown Frenchman from Japan was a bit rash. So historically, Arsenal have been courageous, innovatory. They try to do things with class and style. That’s why I defend them with so much fierceness. Because of these values. They mean a lot to me and I like to defend them.”

A true love statement. This man is amazing.


He has always defended the club, whatever his point of view might have been, I can’t think of a single instance where he’s said anything bad about the fans, players, board or our history no matter what has happened with or around him.

Like people have been saying, he might have made some bad decisions but his intentions have always been right and he only wants the best for our club. He’s a true fan, in fact even a fanatic gooner! Proud to have a classy human being in charge of our great club!

bin kris

What a visionary! I also have seen arsenal with wenger only!!!

Abdul Moeed

Agreed with Ben. First watched Arsenal in 1997 when I was 8. Now Im 22 . Ive grown up watching Wenger. I can never imagine anyone else on the bench. It will be a very sad day when The Professor decides to call it a day. In Arsene I trust. Always.


Loved his last statement.

Also, he could stay for 30 years in Arsenal, despite him saying he won’t be here 15 years from now. Look at Sir Alex Ferguson, he said he’d retire at 60, and he’s still on as Man Utd manager.

A man can dream.


Classic Wenger. Loving the ‘Let it circulate’ quote. Grand to see the interview fleshed out like that, everything in context, good job.


Well there you go. Journalists cherry pick the juicy sound-bites from a story and neglect the rest of the interview as they only want to gain clicks to their website, or pennies for the paper: Playing on people’s anxiety towards a certain topic in order to make a story compelling. We’re all anxious about this season for a host of reasons, the hacks can smell it. It makes their job easy.

Fear sells.


david seago

This: “It’s true, a new cycle is starting. When we left Highbury, I set my sights on a long-term project with a young team. It didn’t produce the results I’d hoped for. Yes, we have to rebuild” and this: “as far as I am concerned, we are now talking pretty short term” i find very interesting. He has admitted his project hasn’t worked, and his changed his tact slightly. I think this is fantastic management. A man that has realised his own mistakes and has responded accordingly, whilst still staying true to his footballing principles. I have always been behind… Read more »


so basically by saying “as far as I am concerned, we are now talking pretty short term” he means he is not gonna invest so much in youth as he has done previously?
It’s a good thing in my opinion. Basically he will buy some proven stars( might not be at the highest level) and restructure arsenal wage pyramid.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed…


no I think what he means is he won’t be here for that much longer

david seago

i don’t think it means he’s going to invest in youth more, i think he will always see the youth system as extremely important for the club, and i’m sure we’ll see more youth products come through. I just think it means he is more focused on NOW than what the team is going to be like in 2-3 years time.


@ critic: no I thin k he meant survival in the first instance (stop the slide) then win a trophy to rebuild the confidence of both the team and the fans. He alluded to it during the interview.

Ian allinson's tache

When the naming rights come up again let’s do the classy thing and call it the wenger stadium(we won t spend the money anyway!),it’s the least he deserves


I share the sentiment but I feel that naming the the training ground after him would be more meaningful seen as that’s the place the players & training staff spends most of their time. Also it will remind future generations of his legacy every day…

Dam Dizzle

Always a fascinating man to listen to…

great read, great man


Amazing man and manager. Is there any other club as blessed with their manager as Arsenal? And yeah, he’s arguably better than Ferguson if one looks at all the factors


“when u see a cow at the neighbour’s house u think it’s better than your cow but it’s actually not”……that was the dumber version of “grass is always greener on the other side”

And ferguson is not half smart and good looking as wenger. FACT.

Richard Smith

Someone should give all football journalists a taste of their own medicine.


That’s a good idea. What we should do is keep an eye on the press articles. Then, whenever a hack writes a story, mentions himself and neglects to add that he’s got a secure job, get a news article put out here on how he’s getting sacked in the morning. E.g. Alan Hansen pens an article on how disappointed he is in the scousers’ defending and how much better it was in his day (perm one from infinity there). Our article says that Hansen is “disappointed” with football, feels he’s not up with the current game and considering giving up… Read more »

Bob Stepanovs

Thoroughly enjoyed that, thanks for going to the trouble of translating it. Top work.


Wonderful read. Whoever thought listening to a football manager could be so refreshing.


Love him or hate him, the man is class

If the players he trusted showed the same class and repaid his trust, then things may have been different.
Perhaps that’s the frailty in the man !!! Maybe he looks at the world through ” rose tinted glasses. “


“If the players he trusted showed the same class and repaid his trust, then things may have been different.”

that’s why there’s only “one arsene wenger”, no players will sacrifice greener pastures for arsenal and philosophy like arsene does.


What an interview !!! how wise is this man.. He keeps amazing people with his wisdom. Carry on forever .. am really emotional . Kudos for the transalation.

Fed up of Barca

Guys a legend!

Last comment made me smile, Okay I was a fan before Wenger (but only just – am 27 now). I remember the tail end of Grahams reign, Houston being caretaker, Rioch’s year, more Houston caretaking and then Wenger… He’s certainly been a very prominent figure in my life.

Pele of Romford

I honestly have tears in my eyes reading that.

And that’s why I’ll defend him to the end. All the Wenger out numpties need to read that and have a good look at their ungrateful selves.
This is the man that said ‘…I believe this team can go undefeated.’ and the world laughed at him.
There will never be another arsene Wenger.

Scott Davis

“I was thinking about a 10 year old kid who might have come to watch Arsenal for the first time with his dad in 1996. I was thinking that he’d now be 25, and he will have known only one chap on the bench” <– Well as a matter of a fact Arsene, thats right. Thats exactly what happened to me.

Arsene Wenger represents a huge generation of Arsenal Football Club to many and I for one am very proud of that fact.


I love you arsene, I always have and always will and I don’t mind u being in arsenal another 15 yrs.


For all his experience in the game, he seems truly and personally hurt by Fabergas and Nasri leaving.


cunts…..changed the ship on the 1st sign of storm…


No I will always defend Cesc because he really loved Arsenal but he so wanted to go home to Spain. He has always been up front about that…so take back the abuse critic…but its OK to lump it on the cunt Nasri (0;


2 weeks ago my girlfriend asked me who my hero was. I thought for a moment and replied in all seriousness that it was Arsene. The answer surprised me but I couldn’t think of anyone else who I admired so much. Wise, gracious, competitive and unswerving commitment and dedication to his values and to Arsenal.

Fantastic interview. Thanks.


Great interview and completely different tone to what has appeared in the media. Just before this translated transcript I swallowed my pride and read Myles Palmer’s take on this Wenger interview. This particular thought flashed across my mind.

“Never argue with a fool, because they will only drag you down to the level of stupidity, and then beat you with their experience.”


Cor Blimey… isn’t our Manager a word smith general of the highest calibre. Some of his vocabularies are just pure gold. There are so many quotes I could use from the excellent translated interview above but I choose this “With time, like Ferguson at Manchester United, I have become part of the historic memory of the game” With a global audience in the millions; you Mr Arsene Wenger will be remembered by many, from all corners of the world, from supporters and fans with names that many cannot imagine nor pronounce. Both the old and young generation will remember you…… Read more »


Typical of the media to add 2 + 2 and come up with any number other than 4!

It is good to read the interview with the full context. Wenger has given everything to Arsenal and continues to do so. This interview does not suggest he might be about to leave, it suggests a man who is still doing everything he can to make Arsenal winners


This is really refreshing. Arsene Wenger is truly a legend. It is sad when players like Fabregas and Nasri leave him after he had stuck out his neck for them. Truly there will only be one Arsene Wenger but many Nasris and a few Fabregas who make Arsenal a delight to watch. We have seen this new team develop in a few weeks and they are playing well. Lets hope that we can get Jack in there soon, Ryo also and the Ox. I am sure we will soon forget the hurt of the barca boy and the money loving… Read more »

sam (@gaffer02)

i cant believe reading this interview has made me emotional. what a man!! i hope people realise how lucky we are to have him as manager. and why did the english media make it sound bad? reading the whole piece shows just how the media try to make noise out of nothing. #inarsenewetrustalways


I’m really pleased there’s so many posts basically saying they were that kid he’s talking about.

It’s restored my faith in that you don’t have to be an older fucker like me, and be able to recall when things really were shit, to truly appreciate how much this man has done for our club.

the only sam is nelson

too right. My first game was December 1976 – nearly 35 years ago *gulp* – and it saw SuperMac, recently purchased for a third of a million pounds, turn on his former club, smashing a hat trick in a 5-3 win in front of a packed Highbury. As a starry eyed 5 year old I was instantly in love with this free flowing, entertaining and goal filled club called Arsenal with their full stadium of adoring fans and team studded with glittering talent Of course this cruel illusion was starkly exposed quickly enough, but by then it was too late.… Read more »


You are a lucky so-and-so Sammy Nelson (one of my favorites btw) I started in 1968 and it was not a vintage year. But I got to see the rise of Bertie Mee’s Red & White Army. Some great FA Cup nights (that’s what we aspired to then) and it wasn’t until GG that we thought that we could win anything like another title. GG was good and most Gooners of my generation felt that we had never had it so good…until…Wenger! I still can scarcely believe the improvement in everything Arsenal that Wenger has brought. Its a completely different… Read more »


Is it by coincidence that his name is synonymous with the club? Could that have arouse the passion and dedication? That aside, these are the kinda man of any employer’s dream. A man that would remember the day he was employed out of dust. I wish some certain players would have taken a pinch from this,remember the day they were brought to the club as relatively unknown.

[…] of the article. Thank goodness for the folks over at Arseblog. They have the full article here. What comes through is not the self pitying portrayal that came across in the English press but the […]


He came to arsenal when I was 2 he is all I’ve ever known and I believe we shouldn’t let him go because there isn’t a better manager that could come in and fill his shoes. Will be a very sad day in the history of Arsenal Football Club when he leaves


I truly believe arsene will leave a great foundation for his successor as he said in the interview.

Board really need to be pro-active in making the transition hassle free.


They’re almost now inseparable, in terms of concept as well as his loyalty to the club. Great translation from Matt Spiro, too.


Great interview by a great great great man!


I knew he’d never think of leaving us.


What a delightful interview…..a class act???
Take note our friends from Chelsea, who just churn through managers………
you cant buy class lads!!

Merlin's Panini

When this interview first came to light I knew it didn’t all seem quite right. He’s always said he would honour his contract and I believe he will, at the very least, do that. People who say Arsene is not Arsenal are right, but he’s more Arsenal than any other manager we’ve ever had or probably ever will have. His loyalty is unwavering and astounding and I am proud to have grown up as an Arsenal supporter with him, in the most part, at the helm. The funny thing with Arsene is that I felt at ease with him as… Read more »


I’ve been a following the Arsenal for 30 years. The last 15 of those with true pride. Pride of the beautiful way we play the game, of how we manage to compete despite the lack of a sugar daddy. I also read Myles’ xenophobic take on the interview earlier. That man has totally lost it.




If someone knows Arsene personally they should let him read all the comments made here,might give him a glimpse of what he means to the club to the fans,personally the man is a legend,a hero a true mentor and a man who inspires me to stand by my beliefs to the end. Give us another 15 years Arsene!,please.

N7 Gooner

He deserves a trophy so so much more than any of that lot at City!


Good work mr blogs…… I feel the interview sums up arsene and arsenal…. Class…..


Thank you thank you thank you…….bazilllion times for this full interview transcript.


Brilliant. Let me add my thanks for this translation.

Also Palmer is a cynical twat who shouldn’t be encouraged. Vanity coupled with stupidity , wrapped up in smugness. A proper little shit.

Joseph Omagbon

At first i thought he was stuborn, but now i can call him a courageous man. The most painful part of his reign in Arsenal should be the betrayal done to him by some players (like Flamini, Hleb, Adebayor, Nasri, Clichy, even Cesc) who he picked as NOBODIES and turned them into Sought- after STARS. I never sat with you in a class to be taught Management Ethics but ur Philosophy has added to my Managerial Skills. I love you Arsene Wenger, stay with us cos i can see better days ahead.

Terry-fied Gooner

This sums it up for me ” form is temporary, class is permanent ”


In Arsene We TRUST

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