Arsene Wenger Quotes

Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger's opinions have made great copy for journalists over the years. Alex Livesey/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

A selection of some of the best Arsene Wenger quotes.

"If you eat caviar every day it's difficult to return to sausages."

Wenger was not amused to hear Arsenal booed by some of their own supporters after a 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough in 1998. The Gunners had won the double in Wenger’s first season in charge just six months earlier, leading to greater expectation among spectators.

"Everyone thinks they have the prettiest wife at home."

At Odds With Fergie

Wenger responds in May 2002 to Sir Alex Ferguson's claim that Manchester United had been the best side in the Premier League since Christmas that season.

"He can only cheat."

Ferguson once asserted that Wenger had a ‘mental problem’ with Ruud van Nistelrooy and this assertion in 2003 was one of several attacks by the Frenchman on the striker.

"To remain unbeaten in a championship like the English championship now is really unbelievable. I want to win the Champions League but, really, this is more important. It is something amazing, something special. How can you do it?"

Wenger assesses his team's achievement of going through the entire 2003/04 season unbeaten. Preston North End managed the same feat in the 1888/89 season, and the two sides are the only ones in English football history to achieve this.

"A football team is like a beautiful woman. When you do not tell her, she forgets she is beautiful."

Another gem from Wenger as he highlights the importance of boosting a team's morale, presumably by whispering sweet nothings into his players' ears.

"He's out of order, disconnected with reality and disrespectful. When you give success to stupid people, it makes them more stupid sometimes and not more intelligent."

Then Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho labeled Wenger a voyeur in 2005, feeling that he was talking a little too much about the Blues' affairs. The Frenchman hit back with a vengeance.

"Ferguson's out of order. He has lost all sense of reality. He is going out looking for a confrontation, then asking the person he is confronting to apologize. He's pushed the cork in a bit far this time."

Wenger reacts to Ferguson’s claims that he knew the identity of the player who threw pizza and soup at him after Manchester United’s 2-0 win over Arsenal in 2004.

"If you have a child who is a good musician, what is your first reaction? It is to put them into a good music school, not in an average one. So why should that not happen in football?"

Uefa president Michel Platini and Fifa president Sepp Blatter suggested top clubs' pursuit of young players was akin to "child slavery" and "child trafficking". Wenger, as is so often the case, had a different point of view.

A Question of Geography

"It is a big surprise to me because he canceled his contract to go abroad. Have you sold Portsmouth to a foreign country?"

Sol Campbell had intimated that he wished to move abroad on leaving Arsenal in 2006 before joining Portsmouth, a move that left Wenger perplexed.

"He [Ferguson] doesn't interest me and doesn't matter to me at all. I will never answer to any provocation from him any more."

Wenger and Ferguson have been regular sparring partners over the years.

"What's really dreadful is the diet in Britain. The whole day you drink tea with milk and coffee with milk and cakes. If you had a fantasy world of what you shouldn't eat in sport, it's what you eat here."

Wenger moved from Japan in 1996 and it is fair to say the diet of the English came as something of a shock.

"At some clubs success is accidental. At Arsenal it is compulsory."

Wenger has never been under any illusions about the expectation level at Arsenal.

Wenger's Principle

"We do not buy superstars. We make them."

Wenger has prided himself over the years on signing young players and turning them into world stars. The likes of Patrick Vieira, Nicolas Anelka and Cesc Fabregas all owe much of their success to le professeur.

"We try to go a different way that, for me, is respectable. Briefly, these are the basics. I thought: "We are building a stadium, so I will get young players in early so I do not find myself exposed on the transfer market without the money to compete with the others. I build a team, and we compensate by creating a style of play, by creating a culture at the club because the boy comes in at 16 or 17 and when they go out they have a supplement of soul, of love for the club, because they have been educated together. The people you meet at college from 16 to 20, often those are the relationships in life that keep going. That, I think, will give us strength that other clubs will not have."

Wenger’s philosophy has been based around building a young team who will grow together. The move to the Emirates Stadium in 2006 meant Arsenal were burdened with huge loan repayments meaning that Wenger could not spend as lavishly as some of the managers at other big clubs.

"I did not see the incident."

Wenger often makes this claim after a misdemeanor by one of his players.

"Sometimes I see it [a foul by an Arsenal player], but I say that I didn’t see it to protect the players and because I could not find any rational explanation for that they did."

In 2009, the Frenchman confessed that he sometimes lies to the media to avoid having to answer awkward questions.

"I want to go to the end of my job here. I built this team, I want to deliver with this team and I feel if I left I would have in some way betrayed my own beliefs. It is as simple as that. It was nothing to do with what Real Madrid has done. It was about Arsenal. I have a project here that I started three or four years ago and I want to reach the end of it. I could not leave this team at this stage of their development."

Wenger has always been fiercely loyal to Arsenal.

“I tried to watch the Tottenham match on television in my hotel but I fell asleep”

Wenger's opinion of rivals Tottenham has not been enhanced over the years, as this 2014 quote shows.