Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger sat down with the BBC and talked about a wide variety of topics concerning Arsenal football club and himself.
The Frenchman confided that the club has now moved through what he called a “sensitive period” during the building and debt of the new Emirates Stadium, but said the club was now in a strong position to compete with big-spending clubs for the world’s top players.
Wenger said: “What people forget is you have to build a new stadium.
“Now we can compete for the best players and that was not the case five years ago.”
Since first taking the job as manager in 1996 Wenger has won three league titles and five FA Cups winning their last trophy in 2014 after a nine year draught.
Wenger confessed that he turned down job offers in order to oversee the move from Highbury to the Emirates in 2006.
“I went with the club for the challenge of building a new stadium without dropping out of the Champions League and we made it every year,” he added.
“I feel that I have done my job in a very committed and faithful way. In 20 years it will be acknowledged that was a very sensitive period for the club. Today the club is in a strong position.
“You want to win everything. We were not that far away but we were facing opposition with much more resources. We had to deal with it.”
Arsenal travels to Old Trafford on Monday to play Manchester United in the quarter finals of the FA Cup and when asked what his favourite memory of the competition was Wenger said:
“Maybe the first one against Newcastle in 1998 when we won the double.
“When I was a kid I watched the cup final. So to come from a village in France and go on to win that was something special. It was the old stadium but the soul there was special.”
Talking about his medals
“I don’t know where my medals are. I don’t look back. Maybe one day I’ll regret it but I’d like to get more of the human side out my career than medals.
“You can have an influence on people’s lives. Medals are important but are not the only thing that matter.”
About him and Alex Ferguson
“I’m happy to see him now much more than before because we have gone through difficult spells. In the end it became more peaceful.
“He was not always objective in his defending his team and neither was I. Now we can have a nice dinner or a glass of wine.”
The team changes after 2004
“The availability of the players changed. We produced players like Cesc Fabregas, who is less physical than Patrick Vieira, but who are still exceptional players.
“For a while maybe we became slowly a little bit less athletic and less physical. But the players we have today, believe me, are very physical.”
The recent defeat to Monaco
“I question myself after every game. It was just a shock as we were super favourites. I believe we wanted too much to make the difference in the first game and forgot the basics.
“We lost vision and panicked a little bit.”
“We don’t know, that’s why life is interesting. I will continue as always to give my best to the job I do and for this club.
“(I want to leave the club) in a strong healthy position which means a club with good players, with good youth behind and strong financial position to go further up and develop even more and I will do that, you can believe me.
“The guy who comes in after me will be in a very strong position to deliver something exceptional.”