Pretty much the entire back half of manager Arsène Wenger’s 22-year tenure with Arsenal could be forgotten with little consequence. After winning a couple titles and then going unbeaten in the 2003-04 Premier League season, Wenger’s accomplishments quickly thinned—a mix of third- and fourth-place finishes balanced out by a few late-career FA Cup victories.
A slide out of Champions League qualifying in his last two seasons led to his departure by choice back in April, but aside from a stint as a pundit during the World Cup, the 68-year-old Wenger has yet to decide on his next move. In fact, based on an interview with French radio network RTL, he still seems to be slowly coming to terms with the time he wasted at Arsenal. Via Sky Sports:
Wenger had this to say when asked what the biggest mistake of his career was: “Perhaps staying at the same club for 22 years.
“I am someone who likes to move around a lot, but I also like a challenge. I’ve been a prisoner of my own challenge at times.”
It seems like there’s some actual psychological damage to sift through here, and Wenger is strikingly honest and reflective about the personal toll that the Arsenal job took on his life:
“I regret having sacrificed everything I did because I realise I’ve hurt a lot of people around me. I’ve neglected a lot of people. I’ve neglected my family, I’ve neglected many close ones,” Wenger admitted.
“Deep down though, the obsessed man is selfish in his pursuit of what he loves. He ignores a lot of other things.”
I’m not sure if any soccer team in the world is worth more than family and loved ones. But if such a club exists, it was certainly not 2010s Arsenal.