Not for the first time, Arsene Wenger has likened football management to Russian roulette, and says that he’s not sure how he’s going to cope when his Arsenal tenure comes to an end and he longer has the gun of the game in his hand.
The Frenchman’s future has dominated the conversations since his announcement last Friday that he would be stepping down, even if he did have to clarify some comments yesterday about the timing of the announcement.
What he’s going to do afterwards is unclear, even to Wenger himself, but there’s no doubt this is only going to be a departure, not a retirement.
“I’ve had no break for 35 years,” said the Arsenal manager yesterday.
“You can look around, and that doesn’t exist. I don’t know now how addicted I am. I am like a guy who plays Russian roulette every week and suddenly has no gun. I will see how much I miss that gun.
“You live always in extreme situations. When I started at 33, I thought I would never survive in this job, but you learn to dominate your emotions. You are never sure if you do the right thing.
“It will be surreal when I don’t work. At the moment I work.”
What happens next at Arsenal is a bigger question, and the 68 year old is hopeful that the club will make progress and compete for the Premier League again.
“I wish that all goes well,” he said. “You do not give 22 years of your life for something, go away and want things to collapse.
“Maybe when you have a big ego at 40, you think the world cannot live without you. At my age you understand the world continues and you wish that it continues better.
“I am convinced with two or three additions this team has the quality to fight for the championship. You will not be short of candidates.
“Green outside, nice trees, good grass. Fantastic. No pollution. Until the press conference starts!”
And as for who might be his successor, the Frenchman again insisted he would have no input into that, but suggested someone with a link to the club would be the ideal candidate.
Both Patrick Vieira and Mikel Arteta have been mentioned, and it’s now up to the board to make that call.
“They need to make the right decision, even if you have to be bold,” he said. “Is it former people who worked here? That is even better.
“But there are many players who had qualities. I don’t influence that choice, but I will stand behind the decision.”
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