Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that the squad booed Sol Campbell in training ahead of the north London derby in a bid to help prepare the defender for the hostile reaction he would receive after leaving Tottenham to join the Gunners in 2001.
Wenger also admitted that he is not sure he would sign Campbell again because of the reaction the player faced for moving between rivals.
Asked if it was true that the Arsenal squad booed Campbell in training ahead of facing Spurs, Wenger told German magazine 11 Freunde : “They did that, and they also made jokes about it.
“But the situation was really stressful for Sol and he told me afterwards how severe it became.
“He couldn’t go to certain places for dinner or walk freely in London because of the anger of the Tottenham fans. In hindsight, I’m not sure if I would sign him again bearing in mind the difficulties he faced.”
The deal came as a major shock at the time, with no speculation coming out about the move beforehand and reporters led to believe that Arsenal were announcing the capture of goalkeeper Richard Wright from Everton when Campbell was officially unveiled.
Asked how they managed to keep the transfer under wraps, Wenger explained: “Until I presented Sol Campbell to the press, nobody could have ever imagined him in an Arsenal shirt.
“This transfer remained secret amongst the four of us: him, his agent, David and me. That cannot happen anymore in modern football because there are so many people involved in a transfer.
“We walked around the house in the countryside at night. I knew that it would cause heated debates in London, but I was truly convinced by the player.
“I thought he was capable of facing the adversity. For me, it was easy because everybody was conscious that I had signed a great player. But for him, it was more complicated.”
Arsene Wenger would return to Arsenal if needed, the legendary manager has confirmed.
Wenger left the Emirates in 2018 after spending 22 years at the helm.
During that time, he oversaw the club’s transition from Highbury to the Emirates while establishing the club’s status as a European powerhouse.
However, towards the end of his time at the Emirates Wenger drew criticism from large sections of the Arsenal fanbase for failing to challenge for the Premier League title or the Champions League.
Wenger has been linked with a return to management since leaving, but it appears his time in the dugout is over.
Arsenal are in the midst of a torrid start to the season, having failed to get going under Mikel Arteta.
They’ve had back-to-back league wins to help turn the tide, but the pressure is still there.
And this week, Wenger was asked whether he would ever consider a return to the club.
He replied: “If I’m needed, I will help them, but I don’t expect that, no.”
Wenger hasn’t returned to the Emirates since leaving the club, having reportedly been unhappy with the way his exit was handled.
But he hinted the wound has finally healed, as he added: “Time is a good doctor, you know.”
Speaking earlier this season, Wenger heaped praise on Arteta and backed him to succeed at the club.
He said: “Mikel had passion for the game and big motivation, and good focus and a desire to do well. You could see the ingredients there, and he had a grip and influence on the other players.
“He’s lucky that straight away he got into a big club, in a position where you normally have to work ten years to get in that position. But because he played for the club and was a good player, he got his chance. I wish him well.”
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s comments on Thomas Tuchel hint at why some fans have welcomed speculation he could be the next Arsenal manager.
Tuchel’s departure from PSG this week turned up the heat on Mikel Arteta, who is under pressure going into the Gunners’ Boxing Day derby against Chelsea.
Arsenal go into Saturday’s Emirates clash just four points above the relegation zone and searching for a first win in eight Premier League games, having lost four of their last five in the top flight.
As well as having to reverse his side’s worrying slide, Arteta also needs to get the best out of Aubameyang, who signed a bumper new contract in the summer but has scored just once in open play since the opening day of the season.
Tuchel will be one of the leading candidates to replace Arteta should Arsenal lose patience with the manager, with the German having been sacked by PSG this week.
And should he take over at the Emirates, he will be tasked with Aubameyang, who played under Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund.
Tuchel was linked with the Arsenal hotseat when Arsene Wenger left in 2018, and Aubameyang said at the time: “He’s one of the best coaches that I’ve had.
“I can’t deny his talent. He’s someone a bit crazy, a little like me.”
Aubameyang also compared his former boss to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola – who was Arteta’s mentor before he left the Etihad to take charge of Arsenal just over a year ago.
“You could say that his style is a bit like that of Guardiola. In any case, they play with the same spirit.
“He likes to keep the ball with a style of play that likes to see the ball move forward, no matter what happens.
“I think he’s got the stuff. Now, it’ll be up to him to prove it.”
Tuchel has spoken of his desire to test himself in the Premier League – but only time will tell if that opportunity will come at Arsenal.
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Mesut Ozil claimed Arsenal are “really missing” Arsene Wenger as he appeared to take a swipe at Mikel Arteta.
Ozil enjoyed a fruitful five seasons under Wenger after the Frenchman paid a then-club-record fee to sign him from Real Madrid in 2013.
But the midfielder’s career – along with the Gunners’ form – has taken a nosedive since Wenger left Arsenal at the end of the 2017/18 season.
Wenger was replaced by Unai Emery, who lasted just over one season before he was sacked in November 2019, while the current Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta finds himself in the spotlight at present.
Arteta has led the club on their worst start to a league season since 1974, while Ozil has played no part and endures a frosty relationship with the man who has exiled him from the first-team squad.
The German World Cup winner last pulled on an Arsenal shirt in March and claims staff and players at the Emirates are “really missing” Wenger.
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Asked whether he considers Wenger a father figure during a Twitter Q&A, Ozil responded : “He was really a fantastic manager – yeah, and also like a father figure for me and many other players… I think many people around Arsenal are really missing him.”
Wenger was one of the key reasons Ozil opted to leave Real Madrid for Arsenal seven-and-a-half years ago in a £42.5million deadline-day transfer.
Ozil had a fantastic relationship with the 71-year-old which could not be further contrast to his current association with Arteta.
Wenger described his former player as an “artist” in a glowing verdict earlier this month. He told ESPN’sCaught Offside podcast. “He was not difficult to manage.
“He was a guy who had a special quality as a creative player and needed to have fun.
“He is an artist and these guys are a bit more sensitive. They need support and an environment that pushes them to give their best.”
Is it too late for Mikel Arteta and Mesut Ozil to repair their relationship? Have your say here.
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When Arsenal stormed to the 2003/04 Premier League title without losing a single game, they were English football’s glamour club.
They had already won the double twice under Arsene Wenger, and the only thing that eluded them was Champions League glory.
Even in Europe, they reached the final in 2006, losing out to Barcelona but signalling their ongoing status amongst the best teams in world football.
But, gradually, the Gunners have slipped away to the point where they have now hit rock bottom under Mikel Arteta.
Many consider their current predicament – sitting five points off the relegation zone – as a low point for the famous north London club.
And the recent comments of several club legends show anger has turned to apath which sums up how far removed the current side are from the great Arsenal teams of the past.
Speaking on Sky Sports after Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat to Burnley, Patrice Evra let slip record goalscorer Thierry Henry’s feelings as he claimed he once turned off the TV rather than watch Granit Xhaka lead the side.
“We’re talking about Xhaka, I will tell you a quick story. Thierry Henry one day invited me to his house, he said ‘come Patrice, we’re going to watch the Arsenal game’,” Evra explained.
“He turned on the TV. The first image we saw on the screen it was Xhaka leading Arsenal, being the captain – Thierry Henry turned off the TV.
“I said ‘What’s happened?’. He said ‘I can’t watch my team and Xhaka being the captain of my team’, and we didn’t watch the game.
“We started talking about many things and he turned off the screen. It tells you everything of what the legends of this club think about him. He again let down his team.”
Henry is far from alone in his feelings of disbelief and frustration at the club.
Emmanuel Petit, who was a key part of the 1997/98 double-winning team, has also moved on to “indifference” to his former club.
“The anger I had has given way to indifference,” he told RMC Sport after their draw with Southampton.
“I try to detach myself from everything as much as possible to avoid losing my head over it… It is a logical response to what has been happening for years now.”
Another former captain, William Gallas, has recently spoken out on the current situation, suggesting the blame lies with manager Mikel Arteta.
Speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes , Gallas said last week: “What’s going on at Arsenal? It’s a question I think everybody has asked this season. I don’t know the answer.
“I think maybe the issue at the moment is that Mikel Arteta is not the right manager. For me he doesn’t have that experience to manage a big club.
“I was surprised when he came in, to be honest – even as Pep Guardiola’s assistant – you need experience as a manager to come in to a club like Arsenal.
“You need to know how to manage 24 players. All the pressure is on your shoulders and you make all the decisions.
“Some players will be upset that they aren’t playing and it’s something you need experience in dealing with.”
It is a damning sign of how times have changed at Arsenal that some key members of their greatest sides have lost patience and come detached from the club.
Their comments offer perhaps the biggest reality check yet for Mikel Arteta regarding the huge task on his hands.
Whilst he is well aware of the history of the club from his time as a player, he has a long way to go to restore the Gunners to former glories.
Five Premier League stars have been named in the FIFA Best Team of the Year for 2020.
Liverpool are well represented in the all-star line-up with four of their players included.
One of those is Thiago Alcantara, though, who spent most of the year as part of Bayern Munich’s impressive treble-winning side.
Goalkeeper Alisson retains his place in the XI, while Trent Alexander-Arnold and Virgil van Dijk were selected in the back four, alongside Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos and Bayern youngster Alphonso Davies.
Man City talisman Kevin De Bruyne makes up the Premier League contingent, partnering Thiago and his ex-Bayern teammates Joshua Kimmich in midfield.
It was unsurprisingly a case of the usual suspects in attack, as the three players nominated for the main award – Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski – lead the line, in a big snub to Champions League finalists Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.
That was arguably a less notable snub than the one to Bayern boss Hansi Flick, who, despite leading his side to three major trophies, was beaten to the Manager of the Year award by defending compatriot Jurgen Klopp.
Alisson’s inclusion in the Team of the Year may also raise a few eyebrows, given Bayern’s Manuel Neuer won the prize for the top goalkeeper in 2020.
The Best XI of the year is voted for by fellow professionals, though, while the individual awards are in the hands of fans, journalists and captains and coaches of national teams.
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was in attendance, and said of the line-up: ““When you are a little child you dream to be the best player in the world in your position and that’s an unbelievable achievement.
Do you agree with the FIFA Best XI? Have your say below.
“Look at the front line… my friends, you made me suffer a lot, you all scored goals against my team!”
Lewandowski capped a breath-taking year by pipping both Messi and Ronaldo to the Best Player of the Year award.
Tottenham’s Son Heung-min was also among the night’s winners, topping the poll for this year’s Puskas Award following his mesmerising solo run against Burnley.
Man Utd striker Marcus Rashford too was commended for his tireless campaign fighting against child hunger, receiving the FIFA Foundation award for his remarkable efforts.