Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger revolutionized the club when he first arrived. Clive Rose / Getty Images

Arsene Wenger’s immense belief in his methods has characterized his stay in England.

A title winner with Monaco in his homeland in 1988, the Frenchman sends his Arsenal team out to entertain.

Critics argue that Arsenal would win more trophies if his team were more direct and he placed less emphasis on youth. But that steely determination to achieve while staying loyal to his principles has become more entrenched as time has gone on.

Wenger won the Premier League and FA Cup double in his first full season in North London. He backed that up with another double in 2002 and his team of ‘Invincibles’ remained unbeaten throughout the entire 2003-04 season as Wenger claimed title number three.

A look at Arsene's 'Invincibles'

Young Jewels

Wenger has made a habit over the years of bringing in underachieving players at little cost and overseeing their transition into genuine stars. The likes of Nicolas Anelka, Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry all flourished under the Frenchman.

Resented by some in his homeland for the way he plunders young talent from Ligue 1, and persona non grata at Barcelona after signing a number of players from the club’s La Masia youth academy, Wenger always has his eye on the next potential sensation.

His habit of missing on-pitch misdemeanors is also a bone of contention with some, Wenger always protective of his charges and loath to criticize them in public.

Arsenal’s brand of pass and move soccer ensures that their home matches regularly sell out. Few managers could achieve this while balancing the books and spending far less than their main competitors.

From Nancy to Arsenal via Japan

After an undistinguished playing career as a defender for various amateur clubs before turning professional with Strasbourg, Wenger obtained a manager's diploma and was appointed as the coach of the club's youth team in 1981.

He then became assistant manager of Cannes, before taking on his first major job at Nancy in 1983. It wasn’t until he moved to Monaco in 1987 that Wenger experienced genuine success. He won the Ligue 1 title in his first season in charge and also led the team to the French Cup in 1991.

Sandwiched between his tenures at Monaco and Arsenal was an 18-month stay at Japanese club Nagoya Grampus Eight where he won the national cup competition and took the club out of the bottom three and into the runners-up spot in the league.

Nicknamed Le Professeur because of his studious approach and encyclopedic knowledge of the world game, Wenger possesses an Economics degree and can speak seven languages.

Losing His Cool

Wenger’s intellectualizing of the game’s issues, coupled with his calm demeanor in press conferences, is in stark contrast to some of his more recent behavior on the touchline. The Frenchman has cut an increasingly frustrated figure as Arsenal have struggled to maintain their position at the summit of the English game and contretemps with other managers have become a more frequent occurrence as the years have gone on. The sight of him squaring up to opposition managers Alan Pardew and Martin Jol in 2006 would have been unthinkable when he arrived in England 10 years earlier.

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp remarked in 2006: "He has joined the nutters, you know. In fact, he is one of the key nutters. It just shows you what happens in football."

Quick Facts:

  • Name: Arsene Wenger
  • Nationality: French
  • Date and Place of Birth: October 22, 1949 in Strasbourg, France
  • Current Team: Arsenal (Premier League)
  • Previous Teams: Nancy-Lorraine (1984-87), Monaco (1987-94), Nagoya Grampus Eight (1995-1996)

Trophies Won:

Monaco:
1988 French League

Nagoya Grampus Eight:
1995 Emperor's Cup
1996 J-League Super Cup

Arsenal:
1998 Premier League
1998 FA Cup
2002 Premier League
2002 FA Cup
2003 FA Cup
2004 Premier League
2005 FA Cup
2014 FA Cup
2015 FA Cup

Philosophy:

“I believe the target of anything in life should be to do it so well that it becomes an art.”