Arsene Wenger's Best Quotes

13 October 2020 09:00

'I didn't see it.'

This may very well be Arsène Wenger's most frequent utterance post-match but the erudite Frenchman, during his revolutionary and historic 22-year reign at Arsenal, delivered plenty of sound-bites rather less formulaic.

So us kind folk at 90min thought we'd narrow down some of his very best, showing that his genius extended far beyond the Invincible season he oversaw at the beginning of the 21st century.

Never had I imagined it was possible for human beings to drink so much beer.
Arsène Wenger arrived in north London in 1996 after managing in the vastly different climes of Japan | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

This statement is made all the more emphatic given it was made by someone who grew up in a pub - well, the establishment Wenger's parents owned in Strasbourg was more like a bistro, but he insists on describing it as a pub.

Fittingly then, in 1996 Wenger was joining a club in Arsenal which had the diet of a pub team - Steve Bould once triumphed in an eating competition during the coach journey back from Newcastle by consuming no fewer than nine dinners.

Wenger would go on to revolutionise, among other things, the culinary habits in English football, aptly describing his impact as: "I felt like I was opening the door to the rest of the world."

I tried to watch the Tottenham match on television in my hotel yesterday, but I fell asleep.

In his very first press conference as Arsenal manager, Wenger immediately endeared himself to the red half of north London by seemingly insulting their bitter rivals, though whether he meant it as a subtle jibe, rather than a simple recollection of events, is up for debate.

No. Perhaps he sent it by horse.
Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson (right) didn't always have quite such a cordial relationship | PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

While Tottenham are Arsenal's traditional rivals for much of Wenger's reign, Manchester United were the Gunners' natural enemies at the top of the Premier League.

Tensions between the managers of these historic clubs began before Wenger had even taken charge of an Arsenal game when Sir Alex Ferguson declared: "He's a novice and should keep his opinions to Japanese football."

Three years later - after Wenger had pipped Manchester United to the 1998 title - Ferguson described Arsenal's style of play as 'belligerent' and accused their players of liking a 'scrap'. Ferguson apologised that these quotes, supposedly made off the record, emerged and promised to drop Wenger a line.

Yet, when the Arsenal boss was asked if he had received any message, he delivered the above retort.

Everyone thinks they have the prettiest wife at home.
Wenger only won 16 of his 49 matches against Sir Alex Ferguson as Arsenal manager | Ben Radford/Getty Images

Ahead of the 2002 FA Cup final, after guiding Arsenal to a second Premier League title, Wenger delivered another emphatic rebuttal to Ferguson, this time in response to his claims that Manchester United had been the best side in the division since Christmas.

However, what was meant as a light-hearted, general remark - and delivered with a mischievous grin - was supposedly taken as a direct slight against his other half by Ferguson and marked the nadir of a relationship which was fractured at the best of times during the first half of Wenger's reign.

The penalty decision was Old Traffordish.

The image is far more iconic than the quote. Having been sent to the stands for kicking a water bottle, Wenger stood facing the referee, arms outstretched, shrugging in front of gleeful United fans.

This dismissal came during Arsenal's 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford in 2009. While Abou Diaby's calamitous own-goal decided the game and earned the headlines, Wayne Rooney's equalising penalty drew Wenger's attention.

When you give success to stupid people, it makes them more stupid sometimes and not more intelligent.

More often than not, Wenger was on the receiving end of barbs from José Mourinho. But on this occasion Wenger couldn't contain himself, unleashing this jibe in 2005 after the Portuguese coach labelled his opposite number a 'voyeur'.

We don't sign superstars. We make them.
Cesc Fàbregas developed into one of Europe's most revered midfielders under Wenger's tutelage at Arsenal | LEON NEAL/Getty Images

At the start of the 2007/08 season, after Roman Abramovich's free-spending Chelsea had claimed two of the three previous titles, Wenger made this bold claim. He went on to list Cesc Fàbregas as prime evidence of his point but also included Abou Diaby and Denilson which, with the power of hindsight, somewhat undermines the declaration.

It's a big surprise to me because he cancelled his contract to go abroad. Have you sold Portsmouth to a foreign country?

While Arsenal didn't sign many ready-made stars during much of the Wenger era, they did sell a fair few. And though Sol Campbell's form had waned by the summer of 2006, Wenger couldn't resist a quip at the England international's expense after his planned move to Juventus fell through and he ended up on the south coast.

It's like you wanting to marry Miss World and she doesn't want you, what can I do about it? I can try to help you, but if she does not want to marry you what can I do?
Despite his ultimate desire to leave, Reyes proved to be a crucial contributor during Arsenal's run to the 2006 Champions League final | Getty Images/Getty Images

Towards the end of José Antonio Reyes' successful spell at Arsenal, the former Spain international admitted he wanted to leave London and go back to Spain. Wenger delivered this metaphor to suggest he may have the best intentions at heart, but there weren't many suitors.

If you eat caviar every day it is difficult to return to sausages.

Despite the fact that Wenger uttered this gem after drawing 1-1 with Middlesbrough back in the halcyon days of 1998, it aptly describes the adjustment period Arsenal fans faced after the trophies began to dry up in 2005.

After seven pieces of silverware in his first nine seasons, Wenger claimed just three FA Cups in his final 13 campaigns.

Fans may have been used to the taste of sausages by the end of Wenger's reign but the memories of those glorious days atop the footballing pyramid can scarcely be erased by a few bratwurst.

Source: 90min