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Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has shot down claims he had eyes on taking over from Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, despite two meetings with former Red Devils chair Martin Edwards.
Ferguson famously planned to retire after the 2001-2 season and United decided that the Frenchman was the perfect replacement in the Old Trafford dugout. But Fergie changed his mind and stayed on until 2013.
Wenger insisted on Saturday that though he met with United bosses, he chose to stay at Ashburton Grove, going on to win the Premier League that year and achieved the seemingly impossible task of winning two years later while going undefeated.
Wenger has turned down various managerial jobs from top European clubs during his two-decade reign at Arsenal, including Real Madrid, Barcelona and Paris Saint Germain.
A potential move to Manchester never seemed plausible until Edwards’s revelation in his autobiography Red Glory.
Speaking after Saturday’s 3-0 win over Bournemouth, Wenger said the “values” of the London club kept him there and that he continues to be happy with Arsenal.
Asked if he was tempted by a move north, Wenger said: “No. I was always happy here. More than people are happy with me.
“I love the values of this club and for me the club is about values first.
“The thing about Man United, the evolution in the last 20 years has been very interesting. A lot has changed [in Manchester] but when I came here, this club was about values that I love in sport and that is why I am still in the competition. So I always question myself.
“Of course Man United is attractive but am I happy here? And the answer was yes.”
The Frenchman is currently in his worst period at the club, not winning the league since 2004 and, having made the Champions League for 16-years straight, a sixth-placed finished means the club have been reduced to Europa League football — starting on Thursday against FC Cologne.
Fans have spent the past few years demanding Wenger quit, though a brace from Danny Welbeck and another goal from summer signing Alexandre Lacazette has temporarily hushed a few angry fans following the 4-0 humiliation at the hands of Liverpool prior to the international break.
Saturday’s opponents Bournemouth have not started the season well, losing all four games. Asked at what point does manager Eddie Howe look at the table and worry, he revealed he has been looking since after the first game of the season.
“This is that ruthless a league,” said Howe. “You can’t give yourself too much to do, so we need points. However we get them, we need them. We are going to have to start very soon.”
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