Arsene Wenger maintains that he will return to the dugout one day but having discovered a world outside of football he’s been enjoying life away from the hassle of being a manager.
The Frenchman was linked with clubs all around the globe in the aftermath of his Arsenal departure last May and he was initially excited about a quick return to the dugout. After a short holiday that involved friends, family, books, the beach and food other than brocolli his tone changed.
He’s spent much of the time since flying between award ceremonies accepting life achievement gongs from close pal David Dein, playing in charity matches and doing a bit of punditry.
While it doesn’t sound like the novelty has worn off, even as he approaches his 70th birthday there’s still an ambition to get back to coaching.
“I rejected some nice offers because I did not feel ready,” he told beIN Sports FR [translated by Get France Football News].
“Maybe I realised how much I was in my own bubble alienating myself from the rest of the world when I was managing.
“Putting a bit of distance between myself and our world made me hesitate to jump back into the fire-pit so quickly.
“I did it for 35 years without any interruption. So I was able to leave the bubble and open my eyes and that took me time… you will see me in a dugout again, when I don’t know exactly.”
Wenger also revealed that he’s been in regular contact with former charges Patrick Vieira and Gilles Grimandi, who are turning heads with their project at Nice.
The duo are manager and technical director respectively at the Côte d’Azur outfit and are hoping to bag a Champions League spot off the back of a summer that saw them sign Kasper Dolberg from Ajax and Alex Claude-Maurice from Lorient.
“I think it is exciting,” Wenger said of Nice’s signings. “They have young players with talent who have not yet blown up.
“We could say that of the four they have taken, they will not all become big stars, but there are two or three there who have the potential to add something to Nice.
“And don’t forget that they are already well placed in the league Nice, even without having played the new signings.
“I speak with them (Patrick Vieira & Gilles Grimandi), they contacted me. For me it is a source of satisfaction to see players that I worked with become managers.”