Football UK

Arsene Wenger says Arsenal signing was booed by team-mates in training

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.

Sol Campbell caused controversy when he moved from Arsenal to Tottenham

“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.

Tottenham fans gave Sol Campbell a hostile reaction when he returned to White Hart Lane with Arsenal
Tottenham fans gave Sol Campbell a hostile reaction when he returned to White Hart Lane with Arsenal

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.”

Sports UK

Arsene Wenger makes Arsenal admission when quizzed on potential return

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.

Arsene Wenger has admitted he would return to Arsenal if he was asked to

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.

Arsene Wenger waved goodbye to Arsenal in 2018

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.”

Sports UK

Arsenal ‘keen on Costa transfer move’ in January years after Wenger attempt

Arsenal are keeping tabs on Diego Costa’s future with his Atletico Madrid days seemingly numbered according to reports.

The Gunners could make a January move after the striker asked the Spanish club to offload him in the New Year.

Atletico are prepared to terminate his contract six months early but do not want to sell to a rival which makes Arsenal an ideal destination, claims AS Diario.

Mikel Arteta’s side have struggled for goals this season which has contributed to their poor form.

Costa has proven himself in the Premier League with Chelsea, winning two titles in the space of three years.

Diego Costa could be available next month

The Spaniard is looking to join another top European side as he believes he can still cut it at the top level.

His grit and determination is something Arsenal have lacked for years, but they are looking to add that under Arteta.

Costa’s former team-mate Thomas Partey was signed in the summer as impressed when fit.

The Gunners’ interest in the 32-year-old dates back to Arsene Wenger’s reign.

“I like Costa as a player,” Wenger once said. “I like the qualities of the player. All the rest around is not needed. He’s a very strong player.”

He came to English shores in 2014 when Jose Mourinho signed him.

The striker was a success at Chelsea

Costa went on to score 59 times in 120 outings for the Blues under two different managers.

Wenger admits he would’ve pushed harder for his signature had he known Costa was prepared to leave the Spanish capital.

“I never thought he would leave Atlético Madrid at the time, I was surprised,” he added.

“Would I have made a harder play for him had I known? Yes. I like him, as a quality striker.”

Costa rejoined Atletico from Chelsea in 2017 but has been unable to hit the heights of his first spell and has grown frustrated with his lack of minutes.

Sports UK

Ozil says Arsenal are “really missing” Wenger in thinly-veiled dig at Arteta

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.

Ozil referred to Wenger as a “father figure”

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.

Arteta has left the midfielder out of his plans

It has been a hectic season so far – so make sure you don’t miss a single thing by signing up for the brilliant new Mirror Football newsletter!

All the latest transfer news and big stories will land straight into your inbox. You won’t miss out.

To sign up, put your email at the top of this article or follow the instructions on this link.

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.

Sign up to the Mirror Football email here for the latest news and transfer gossip.

Sports UK

Emmanuel Frimpong tells Arsenal to bring back Wenger to sort out club crisis

Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong has urged the Gunners to reappoint Arsene Wenger as manager to rectify the club’s gloomy predicament.

Arsenal have won just one of their last 10 Premier League games and sit 15th in the table, four points above the drop zone and on the cusp of a relegation battle.

There was yet more bad news for the Gunners as they were soundly beaten 4-1 at the Emirates by Manchester City in Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup quarter-final.

The result led to even greater speculation on Mikel Arteta’s future as Arsenal manager ahead of another challenging clash against fifth-place Chelsea on Boxing Day.

Wenger led Arsenal to three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups

Arteta enjoyed a fantastic first season as Gunners boss, leading the club to FA Cup glory just eight months after his appointment last December.

He also overcame Premier League champions Liverpool to clinch the Community Shield, but results this campaign mean his future hangs in the balance.

Frimpong – who graduated from Arsenal’s academy in 2011 – hopes Arteta can turn things around in north London, but admitted he would “take Arsene back”.

Wenger managed Arsenal for 22 seasons, winning 10 major honours, and Frimpong claims his experience and stature would help lift the Gunners out of their current slump.

“I hope it does work out with Mikel, but I would take Arsene back due to his experience,” the former Ghana international told PlayOJO .

“He has the capability of bringing very good players in because he has the respect and he would attract very good players.

“However, I don’t think Arsene has any intention of coming back to Arsenal as a manager.

“We just need to move forward we what we have and that is Mikel and I believe he is good enough for the job.”

Should Arsenal turn to Arsene Wenger to arrest their slide? Have your say here.

Sign up to the Mirror Football email here for the latest news and transfer gossip.

Sports UK

Van Persie’s transfer suggestion to Wenger ‘gave nine elbows and kept smiling’

Robin van Persie has revealed that he once recommended Arsenal sign Juventus legend Giorgio Chiellini while Arsene Wenger was in charge.

Retired Dutch forward Van Persie spent eight years at Arsenal before controversially moving to Manchester United in 2012.

The Gunners began to wain at the back towards the end of Van Persie’s time at the Emirates Stadium.

And the two-time Premier League Golden Boot winner says he recommended a signing to Wenger that is still fighting tooth and nail to this day.

“I played against him a few times and he is really a winner. You saw that a few weeks ago against the Dutch national team,” Van Persie said.

Robin Van Persie says he recommended signings to Arsene Wenger

“He’s 36, but gives 9 elbows smiling. He keeps on smiling and doesn’t even get a yellow card. You need those kind of winners, killers, you need them.

“[That’s] My own experiences. We were very good at the front and scored a lot, but your keeper and your last line are the foundation of your team.”

Giorgio Chiellini was the man Van Persie recommended Arsenal sign

Van Persie became captain at Arsenal at the start of the 2011/12 season, and he says that he tried to point out where things could be improved at the club, even suggesting players who should perhaps be dropped.

“At one point I felt called to indicate where things could be improved, to become champion with Arsenal,” Van Persie added.

It has been a hectic season so far – so make sure you don’t miss a single thing by signing up for the brilliant new Mirror Football newsletter!

All the latest transfer news and big stories will land straight into your inbox. You won’t miss out.

To sign up, put your email at the top of this article or follow the instructions on this link.

“At one point there was a player who did not look up at crucial moments and did not see who was free. I said, ‘I think it’s your job to take him on. Just gas it’.

“But that was my experience of what was happening on the field. That’s what we were talking about.”

Sports UK

Arsenal chief executive ‘visits Wenger’ to discuss potential Gunners return

An Arsenal chief has visited Arsene Wenger as they look to persuade him to return to the Emirates ahead of a planned tribute.

The Frenchman led the Gunners for more than two decades before leaving in 2018.

He endured well documented struggles in his final years in charge however with fan protests becoming a regular occurance.

Wenger eventually stepped down after a trophyless season that saw Arsenal finish sixth.

But the Frenchman is understood to be hurt by the manner in which his reign ended and reverses particular frustration for the club’s board.

They are however hopeful that he will return to north London despite those close to him insisting he wouldn’t go back, even to watch a game.

Arsene Wenger left Arsenal after 22 years in 2018

But one of the club’s leading lights, chief executive Vinai Venkatesham, visited Wenger recently to maintain that he is always welcome, reports the Mail on Sunday.

Next year there are expectations that a significant tribute to the 71-year-old will be unveiled.

But insiders have revealed that there is still a bitterness between the Frenchman and his former club.

An Arsenal employee said: “He’ll never go back. That’s how badly let down he feels he was by the board.”

Arsena chiefs have visited the Frenchman regarding a potential return

While another of the manager’s former colleagues claimed: “Contrary to what people may think, it didn’t end well. And he didn’t feel it ended well.

“He felt he deserved better. And he did deserve better.

“When Peter Hill-Wood died, he should have been made chairman. They had to keep him. You don’t lose someone who has his ability, expertise, intelligence and honesty.”

After joining in 1996 Wenger delivered three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups – a record for a manager.

A club source said: “We want to make sure that someone who is such an integral part of our history in honoured in the right way.”

Were Arsenal right to let Wenger go? Have your say here

* Sign up to the Mirror Football email here for the latest news and transfer gossip

Football UK

Gilberto talks Arsenal’s Invincible mentality and reveals bold Wenger claim

Arsenal’s dressing room of winners was crucial as they earned the Invincibles tag during their title triumph according to Gilberto Silva.

The Gunners are only the second side in English history to go through a top flight season unbeaten following their success in 2003/04.

And the Brazilian midfielder admits the dressing room was filled with players who always had winning on their mind.

Arsenal won 26 of their 38 games as they eased to the title, finally winning it at White Hart Lane.

It allowed them to regain their crown having surrendered it to Manchester United 12 months prior and Gilberto concedes that failure was a huge motivating factor.

Gilberto Silva has hailed the mentality in the Arsenal dressing room

“There was a character in the team where everyone just thought about winning,” he told Good Morning Breakfast.

“One important thing I always mention was that the year before we had so much frustration from losing that season to Manchester United.

“It was really hard for us to accept that because the mentality was to win all the games.

“We were all winners so it was tough to accept.

“We came back the next season and managed that (winning the title).”

Overall Arsenal managed to go 49 league games unbeaten – a record that spanned three seasons.

The Gunners remain the only team to go unbeaten in a top flight season

Wenger was at the peak of his powers and by the end of 2004 had captured three league titles and three FA Cups.

The Frenchman laid down the gauntlet to his team before their Invincible season and insisted they had the potential to go unbeaten.

“At the beginning Arsene Wenger told us that he felt we could go throughout the season unbeaten,” Gilberto added.

“Maybe to throw a little bit of pressure on us but we didn’t think about it.

“We just thought about going into every game trying to get the result.”

Are Arsenal’s Invincibles the greatest ever Premier League team? Have your say here

* Sign up to the Mirror Football email here for the latest news and transfer gossip

Sports UK

Serge Gnabry makes prediction about Arsene Wenger at Bayern Munich

Serge Gnabry claims his former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger would be a “fantastic” manager for Bayern Munich.

Wenger has been out of work since he left the Gunners in 2018 and turned down the Bayern job in November last year.

While Arsenal manager, Wenger oversaw Gnabry’s emergence from the academy in 2012 and the winger went on to make 18 appearances under the Frenchman.

But after a failed loan move to West Brom, Gnabry was sold for just £5million to Werder Bremen in 2016 and joined Bayern one year later.

The German has gone on to set Europe alight with his dazzling performances and helped the Bavarian giants clinch a historic treble last season.

Gnabry has made a bold prediction about Wenger

Bayern boss Hansi Flick was the mastermind of the Bundesliga, DFK-Pokal and Champions League triumphs, but Gnabry insists Wenger would also be a hit at the Allianz Arena.

“Do I think he [Wenger] could have success? For sure. He’s proven that he’s been a fantastic manager to lead a club,” said the 25-year-old.

“I would say the difference [between Wenger and Flick] for myself, being an older player, it’s probably easier to communicate with the coach.

Gnabry emerged from the Gunners’ academy under Wenger

It has been a hectic season so far – so make sure you don’t miss a single thing by signing up for the brilliant new Mirror Football newsletter!

All the latest transfer news and big stories will land straight into your inbox. You won’t miss out.

To sign up, put your email at the top of this article or follow the instructions on this link.

“When you just come in and you’re very young, sometimes you are maybe a little bit shy but football-wise they’re both on a very, very high level.”

Some of Gnabry’s best displays last season came in the Champions League, where he scored nine goals in 10 appearances.

One famous performance saw him score four past his former north London rivals Tottenham as Bayern ran rout with a 7-2 group-stage victory.

Gnabry added: “The biggest thing about it was to see some of my friends, they give me a lot of motivation.

Gnabry scored four and assisted once in the rout at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Would the Bayern Munich job suit Arsene Wenger? Have your say here.

“Obviously knowing the history and the atmosphere in the stadiums it is great to play in England, but in some way, because of my Arsenal history, you have more motivation against Spurs.

“Apart from that, every game is important and it’s been going well for me against London teams.”

Gnabry has four goals in five Bundesliga games this season, while league-leaders Bayern face a crunch trip to second-place Borussia Dortmund on Saturday evening.

Turning his attention to ‘Der Klassiker’, Gnabry said: “It’s very important because it’s the two best teams in the Bundesliga playing against each other.

“Whoever comes out on top, hopefully us, will gain a lot of confidence from that match for the rest of the season.

“Knowing the importance of that game, also internationally, a lot of people are going to watch the game, it makes it more valuable for us.”

Sign up to the Mirror Football email here for the latest news and transfer gossip.

Source link

Sports UK

Jack Wilshere opens up on how Arsene Wenger reacted to him smoking

Former Arsenal star Jack Wilshere has revealed Arsene Wenger’s reaction to him being papped smoking cigarettes.

During his time at Arsenal, former fan favourite Wilshere was caught smoking on a number of occasions.

Two of the incidents occurred when the midfielder was enjoying on a night out, with the paparazzi quick to get a snap of him enjoying a hit of tobacco.

Wilshere didn’t care too much the first time he was seen puffing away, an attitude he had as he was enjoying arguably his best spell in an Arsenal shirt.

Jack Wilshere expected a serious telling off from Arsene Wenger after he was caught smoking

That stance, however, soon changed when he realised he’d have to discuss the issue with Wenger at Arsenal’s London Colney training ground the following day.

Understandably, Wilshere was expecting to receive a rollicking from the Frenchman.

What transpired, however, couldn’t have been any further from a telling off.

Sergio Aguero (Man City) – 293 games

Harry Kane (Tottenham) – 300 games

Thierry Henry (Arsenal) – 321 games

Alan Shearer (Newcastle) – 380 games

Wayne Rooney (Man Utd) – 405 games

“I look back now and realise I made mistakes,” Wilshere said of his time at Arsenal during an appearance Sky’s Super 6 podcast.

“At the time, I thought they (the media) were picking on me. I had support around me, from the manager. Arsene was brilliant like that.

“I remember the first time I got caught with a cigarette and the media put it in the paper and that didn’t really bother me, because I was confident I was doing well enough in football.

‘The one thing that was in my head was, ‘Oh my god, the boss is going to kill me’.

“I remember going in the next day, going up to the training pitch and the boss was there.

“He was like, ‘Don’t worry, when I have a drink I like a cigarette as well!’

Arsene Wenger told Jack Wilshere he enjoyed a cigarette when has a drink

“I was like, ‘Oh my god, thank God for that!’. I learnt things and it’s easier now to get caught out because of social media.”

Wilshere, 28, is currently a free agent after mutually agreeing to terminate his £100,000-a-week contract with West Ham.

The England international, whose career has been riddled with injury, is currently on the lookout for a new club.

Source link