silverware Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Ndidi bid, targets named, Ozil is ‘skiving little git’ 8 Arsene Wenger shortly after being appointed as Arsenal manager in 1996 Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? Arsene Wenger found it tough in his later years at Arsenal You have to manage the players, the press, the board, the fans…There are three main elements to management. The first is the style of play and the results. The second is the individual development of the players. Some people work incredibly hard on the players without seeing the results.Thirdly, the structure and values you want to integrate into the club. This is more of a moral responsibility and boils down to your values. It can give your club a new dimension on a global scale.You often talk about values. What do you mean? What are values in football? Values in a coach?Values in football are about finding all that is beautiful about team sport. It’s self-expression in a collective setting. Shared pleasure over individualism. Expression of beauty together is more beautiful than expression of beauty alone. And respect of your teammate, your opponent, the fan, the ref.And most importantly, never accepting mediocrity. It’s the ultimate value in my eyes. In the sense that you must demand it of yourself. You must not accept where you are. You must be generous. You must always give more.And what if you told us what you regret sacrificing to have this career?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. Deep down though, the obsessed man is selfish in his pursuit of what he loves. He ignores a lot of other things. But it’s a bone to chase at the same time.Often, I’m asked if Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira will be good managers and I always answer yes. They have all the qualities; they’re intelligent, they know football, they have excellent skillset, but do they want to sacrifice what needs to be sacrificed. It’s an obsession which bounces around your head day and night.You wake up at 3am thinking about team selection, tactics, formation…After 22 years at Arsenal, what’s next for Arsene Wenger?I’m asking myself the same question! Do I keep doing what I’ve been doing, what I know. Or do I share all the knowledge I’ve accumulated over the years in a slightly different way? That’s the question I need to answer in the next few months.Let’s go back to the arrival at Arsenal. Lots of animosity between England and France at the time but one meeting changed your life.Yes. David Dein, who brought me to Arsenal. January 2, 1989, I was in Turkey and had to fly via England. At the time, men and women weren’t allowed in the same stand at Arsenal, which is unbelievable to say now, the women sat with the visiting fans. I was still smoking back then and got a light at half-time from David Dein’s wife.We started to talk, and that night I was invited to dinner and since he had a boat on the Cote D’Azur and I was at Monaco – we stayed in touch. He often came to matches in Monaco and told me: ‘This is interesting what you’re doing here, I’d like to hire you one day.’I met Peter Hill-Wood when I went to Japan who expressed reservations about hiring a foreigner in England. During my time in Japan they called me and said they wanted me for sure, and that’s how it happened.(Dein now joins the conversation on the phone) Latest Arsenal FC News REVEALED gameday cracker Boxing Day fixtures: All nine Premier League games live on talkSPORT possible standings 8 8 And what if you weren’t from Alsace?If I’m not Alsacien, above all I’m a citizen of the world. I have no real taste for borders…Arsene Wenger, you love Bob Marley – not many people know that…I love Bob Marley. He’s pure class, in a chill kind of way. And his music was surprising for back then. Also, there’s something so sad about the fact he died at 35. He loved sport, music… for me Jamaica reminds me of that. Sport and music go together very well I find.How did it all begin?It all started in a little restaurant. The local football team used the restaurant as headquarters in a small town outside Strasbourg. I heard only football, and religion. In the morning, religion from everyone and then football was the distraction.I took part in all the conversations that the team’s organisers would take part in. From a very young age. Five or six. I understood quickly that the team wasn’t great. I started going to the games with my emissary.I believed only God could help them at the time. I would read and recite prayers during the game, at half-time while watching them play. I can tell you it’s better to have a good centre-forward than a hymn sheet.Was it the team that your dad coached?He created a team because he saw I was fascinated with the game, I was about 13 when I started playing. The team didn’t have a coach. It’s remarkable that until the age of 19 I didn’t have a coach.What’s remarkable is that I’ve had such a long career in football despite this. It’s incredibly fortunate.You played at Strasbourg and then were a coach at 33. Did the desire to coach come from this lack of coaching?Well firstly I wasn’t convinced that I had the qualities to be a coach given I hadn’t had an illustrious playing career. And I wasn’t convinced I had the natural authority either.I found myself propelled into this job by the people around me and what they saw in me. Something I didn’t see. I started out with players older than me.One weird paradox is that I’ve never struggled for authority, even with the older player, without screaming.The shock in your career was in 1996 – you become the foreigner in the Premier League. You went from unknown to ubiquitous almost instantly. Was that surprising?Well yes because there was this image in England that foreign managers couldn’t be successful. There had only been two or three before me.They didn’t want any foreigners and there were tons of theories about how a foreign manager could never win anything: ‘It’s too hard’.I came in incognito, from Japan. Which I loved. I did enjoy coming back to Europe, but I fully anticipated going back if it didn’t work out. Arsene Wenger with the Premier League trophy in 2004 Arsene Wenger has given a wide-ranging and candid interview in his native France.Speaking to RTL host Christine Kelly, the former Arsenal boss opened up over his regrets about staying at one club for too long, the sacrifices he has made in his life and the values he holds dear. Arsene Wenger rates Thierry Henry as the best player he coached How the Premier League table could change after the Boxing Day fixtures smart causal Arsene Wenger has always been an animated figure on the touchline Arsene Wenger has been a manager for more than 30 years Christine Kelly: David Dein, you hired Arsene Wenger at Arsenal yes?David Dein: Yes, I can confirm this!Arsene Wenger: David! What are you doing here?!Dein: Hey Arsene!Wenger: You really are a magician!Dein: You say that but you’re the one with the magic wand, as always Arsene.Kelly: David is actually in between two flights here so quite difficult to speak.Wenger: Yes of course. I must say, he’s an incredible logistician. You cannot imagine this, he’s a one-man travel agency.Kelly: David, what are Arsene’s qualities as a coach?Dein: Quite simply, he’s an incredibly intelligent person who knows football like the back of his hand. He has incredible integrity, he’s organised, motivated and has a great sense of humour.What people don’t know is that Arsene can be incredibly funny, an evening with him is never, ever boring. I hope he’ll continue to use his magic wand in whatever he goes on to do.Kelly: Thank you to David Dein, in between connecting flights.(Dein leaves the conversation)Wenger: He’s a great friend, an exceptional man. We’ve always stayed close, very close. He’s had difficult patches and I have as well, but we’ve always been close.He’s a visionary. Absolutely. I must tell you this because not many people know but he has visited 85 prisons out of 102 in the UK to help the prisoners – he goes to hundreds of schools as benevolent work during the weekend.He also does a huge amount of charity work with FIFA. He’s also one of the key instigators of video replaysAh yes, video. Your great passion. Five or six games a day is it?Yes. No furniture at home just videos. I did my genotype exam and they told me I had the addictive gene. I just used it entirely in my professional life, it could have been used on something less beneficial for me.Some more quick-fire questions. Which player left the biggest impression on you?The most talent of those I’ve coached… Thierry Henry probably. 8 LATEST You had some difficult moments with the English press – the tabloids – how did you cope? They literally tried everything to put you off, to destabilise you.They ran a lot of stories. A lot of lies. Listen, it’s a public-facing job and as such you are subject to attention, to rumours. You deal with it by staying focused on the task at hand and letting rumours and lies be exactly what they are. If there’s nothing concrete behind it, then it won’t stick.And that’s where we see the famous stress resistance. You revolutionised English football, how? Nutrition, training, attention to detail.I always try to make it, so people love football. As 13 and 14-year-olds, kids are drawn to the playground, to play the game, to love the game.When it becomes a job, it becomes about ‘having to’ rather than wanting to. You ‘have’ to train, you ‘have’ to win, you ‘have’ to score. At that point it becomes less fun.I always tried to develop a philosophy around the desire to play the game. To cultivate that desire.You won the title unbeaten in 2003-04. What was the secret recipe?Effectively we were unbeaten for a year and a half. 49 games. It’s an interesting detail because when we won the title in 2002 I told the press my dream was to win the title unbeaten.I got lambasted as pretentious, arrogant etc. We lost the title the next season to Manchester United. In 2002-03, I asked the players why we didn’t win the title. They said, ‘it’s your fault’. I asked why.They said: ‘you put too much pressure on us.’ And it’s interesting because I told them the only reason I said it was because I truly believed it. And then they did it. Which proves two things.One, sometimes we don’t put the level of ambition high enough. We don’t dare, we’re scared. But you must set the bar as high as possible. Two, sometimes you must plant the seed and wait for it to grow. It provided a fascinating insight into the mind of one of the Premier League’s greatest ever managers.Wenger was also briefly joined during the interview by former Arsenal chairman David Dein. You can read the full transcript below…Arsene Wenger, if you were President of France, what law would you pass?I would introduce football as an obligation, everywhere, absolutely all over France. Every single school.If there was one moment you could remove from your life?All the defeats.There haven’t been many…More than you think, each is a scar for life. Each will forever be a great disappointment.What would be your ultimate fantasy object to have?I don’t really have one, maybe the team playing with the harmonious excellence all teams sometimes reach but for a full game. Everyone playing on the exact same wavelength for a whole match, it’s so rare. These moments make the job worth suffering.And what if you told us your biggest mistake?Perhaps staying at the same club for 22 years. I’m 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. And what if you told us your greatest fear?My biggest fear is to lose the ability to be physically independent. I enjoy my mobility, I like exercising. A real fear of mine.And if you had to ask for someone’s forgiveness?All the people who I’ve made suffer. In my line of work, we are constantly making decisions that punish people, while making others happy. When you work with a 25-man squad, it’s basically making 14 people unemployed every Saturday or Tuesday.Also, the players for whom I never managed to find the key to helping them reach their potential.And what if you had to change career with someone else?Anyone who has the potential to have a positive effect on people’s lives. A politician or someone who discovers a revolutionary cure.And what if you could spend one evening with someone, without anyone ever finding out who?An evening of conversation? Or…. philosophising? I’d like to spend an evening with Moses. What did he think of the ten commandments? Effectively our first constitution – I find it well constructed, what did he think?And what if you told us your darkest sin, the one you keep all to yourself?My taste for patisseries. I’m from Strasbourg. I eat them every day.And then the jogging?Yes.And what if you weren’t in football?I’d be somewhere in a competitive field. I love competing. There’s two types of competitiveness. Those who hate to lose, and those who love to win. We’re all in some way a mix of the two and I think I hate losing more.In general, those who love to win more are attackers. Those who hate to lose more are defenders. And which player would you like to have slapped?Oh there’s quite a few. All the big mistakes, in big games, I won’t name names; they’re stronger than me.Which journalist would you most have liked to strangle?Not oneNo?No… maybe Christine Kelly.(Kelly laughs)OK, OK, and which match made you the happiest?Probably beating Barcelona when they were at their highest highest peak. They were unbeatable. The football from both sides was exceptional.Which player are you most proud of signing?Erm… The ones I’m most proud of are the ones that cost little but turned out to be top class. Toure, Henry, Campbell, Anelka.What about your worst recruit?Oh there’s quite a lot! It’s a job which is complicated, measuring the worth of someone who joins your club. The key is to not be too stubborn and force the issue; realise the mistake and move on. Don’t be scared to make mistakes.What is the perfect player for you, tactically, physically, ability-wise?There’s no perfect player. They all have flaws. For example, Messi is the most perfect of them all because he can make others play and he can score himself, but he has weaknesses, contrary to what some people think.If you analyse his game, he’s not very good in the air, he’s not great defensively. But you don’t make a living out of your weaknesses, you make a living out of your strengths, therefore the coach must emphasise the strengths as much as possible and put players around this person who hide his weaknesses.And what if you hadn’t been Arsenal coach, say in 2010, would you have become the French national team manager instead of Raymond Domenech?Yes, I’ve had the opportunity numerous times to be France manager. I’m not sure if it was before or after Domenech. Maybe both… I’ve always been more interested in the day-to-day aspect of management. I find it much more stimulating.It is a question I’ve been asking myself, if I should become a national team manager. A national team manager takes charge of ten games per year. In a club, you take charge of 60. My drug is the next match, so…And what if you weren’t coach of Arsenal, you would have taken charge of Paris Saint-Germain when the Qatari owners came in?Maybe, maybe.And what if you weren’t coach of Arsenal, PSG might have won their first Champions League title already?No I don’t think so necessarily. PSG is in the middle of an enormous collective enterprise, where the goal mustn’t be the Champions League trophy. The Champions League trophy should be the consequence of a long road of growth and hard work within the club.A trophy of this stature is not really a realistic programme to chase – there’s six or seven clubs at the same level so it’s a matter of luck, it’s not chaseable. 8 How Arsenal could line up in Arteta’s first official game in charge – Ozil return? 8 NEW ERA 8 England’s most successful clubs of the past decade, according to trophies won Arsene Wenger was a surprise choice as Arsenal manager in 1996 8 REVEALED Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won getty Every current Premier League club’s best kit from the past decade And how do you keep the concentration after 10, 20, 30 matches?That’s the difficult bit. Very difficult. Man is easily satisfied with what he has. The team needs to constantly be fed new ambitions, new targets. ‘What is your next level?’We all tend to wallow in comfort. We don’t want the pain. Unfortunately, without the pain you don’t reach a higher level. Without making the conscious decision to ask yourself: ‘What am I aspiring to? Where do I want to go? What is my goal?’ You stay where you are.It has nothing to do with elite sporting ability. Elite sport is not made for everyone. There’s a personality expert I work with and the key factor isn’t the intensity of the motivation, it’s the endurance of the motivation. You could call it tenacity.It’s who can go Monday to Sunday, not just Tuesday to Thursday.Let’s talk about your footballing philosophy. How do you see football nowadays and generally?My vision is that normally you need to win and win with style. Winning should be the result of the quality of your playing style and how you express yourself on the pitch.All my life, people have told me that we need to win on Saturday. As a coach, I know that – but how?I like to think that the paying fan wakes up the morning of the game and thinks ‘ah yes, my team is playing today’ and he will be transported to a more beautiful world than his daily routine.I like to set myself the ambition to give him this hope, this excitement about coming to see the team play – even if I know I will let him down sometimes.You can’t be a coach if you don’t have this ambition. Otherwise you stay in something mediocre. You must want to please people with football.What, for you, is the definition of a good coach or manager?Someone who manages to get the most out of his squad. From a collective expression point of view and in terms of results.The best coach in the league isn’t necessarily the one who wins the title. No. But nobody can measure this. You can’t. You can’t measure a coach because you can’t measure if he’s managed to reach the full potential of the squad.That’s why my ultimate ambition was to win a league title unbeaten. Because even if someone beats me at that, they can’t do it that much better. Arsene Wenger says goodbye to Arsenal fans after 22 years What books do you like?Sociology, philosophy…I’ve bought you two, you choose.That’s very nice, I’ll pick ‘Confiance en soi’. It’s something we need more and more in modern society I believe. It’s easier than ever to doubt one-self.Secrets from the dressing room. Any skeletons in the closet? What do you tell them before a game?You need to have a talk which is adapted to the circumstances. It’s not always the same opponent. Your team doesn’t always have the same energy levels – you need to have a good understanding of the energy levels in the team.So let’s say we have a team low on energy, what’s the team talk before the game?I don’t accept this level of energy. This level of energy in the dressing room will result in disaster. We will not meet our objectives. It’s time to wake up. You, over there, I saw you in the warm-up, you’re not ready. Do you realise what you’re about to do? Are you ready?You need a speech adapted to the circumstances. And when you’re at Arsenal you’re always the favourite so you need to remind them that they need to win, and they need to get in a zone which always them to express themselves.This zone, you go into it little by little. The big, big trap for the elite sportsman is that he remembers a time when he was flying. When everything was easy. We dream of returning to that level as and when we wish but, you get there little by little.By starting with the basics, playing simple and realising everything gets easier from there.