Arsene Wenger says he intends to “play in Europe again”, increasing the possibility of the departing Arsenal boss managing another club next season.
The Gunners announced last week that the Frenchman would leave the Emirates at the end of the current campaign, bringing the curtain down on a 22-year tenure in which he won three Premier Leagues titles and seven FA Cups.
Although he has thus far dodged questions about his future plans, Goal reported last week that he wanted an immediate return to football after leaving Arsenal.
And now Wenger has raised the prospect of taking on another job – providing he misses the day-to-day involvement when he leaves north London.
Speaking ahead of the first leg of Arsenal’s Europa League semi-final clash with Atletico Madrid, he told reporters: “I hope these are not my last European cup games – my target is to play in Europe again.
“[But] I’ve had no break [from football management] for 35 years. You can look around, and that doesn’t exist.
“I don’t know now how addicted I am. I am like a guy who plays Russian roulette every week and suddenly has no gun. I will see how much I miss that gun.
“When I started at 33, I thought I would never survive in this job, but you learn to dominate your emotions. You are never sure if you do the right thing. It will be surreal when I don’t work. At the moment I work.
“At the moment, I’m not ready to commit to anything else but Arsenal.”
Boss #MerciArsène pic.twitter.com/ZsN7szFtdu
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 25, 2018
Asked if he would consider taking a sabbatical and follow in the footsteps of Pep Guardiola, who took a year out after leaving Barcelona and before committing to Bayern Munich, he added: “It’s long – 365 days.”
Wenger, who had to clarify comments that had been twisted to appear as though he was unhappy with the timing of his exit announcement, was satisfied the majority of the Arsenal fans will look back fondly at his reign, despite a vocal minority that have campaigned for his departure.
“When some people are unhappy it is not always a majority, but they get the attention and they look like a majority,” he said.
“I think people are intelligent and can make the difference between moments of unhappiness and global satisfaction for what I brought to the club. People will realise that to qualify for the Champions League for 20 consecutive years is not as easy it looks.”
Whoever Arsenal bring in to replace Wenger will receive his best wishes and support with the 68-year-old adamant the club can fight for the Premier League title with “two or three additions”.
“I wish that all goes well [for the new man],” he said.
“You do not give 22 years of your life for something, go away and want things to collapse. Maybe when you have a big ego at 40, you think the world cannot live without you. At my age you understand the world continues and you wish that it continues better.
“This team has quality. Two years ago, we finished second [in the Premier League]. Last year, we had 75 points and won the FA Cup and Charity Shield. We reached the final of the League Cup and a European semi-final.
“I am convinced with two or three additions this team has the quality to fight for the championship. You will not be short of candidates.”