Wenger linked with shock coaching return - but he will likely reject it

Robin Bairner
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Arsenal legend Arsene Wenger has been tipped for a potential return to management more than three years after he quit the Emirates side.

Wenger gained iconic status while with Arsenal, leading them to three Premier League titles and a runners-up spot in the 2005/06 Champions League over a near 22-year stay with the club.

Although his final years with the Gunners were inglorious as he stoically refused to pay what he felt were exorbitant fees for players, he nevertheless exited the club as an all-time great.

Wenger has been with FIFA since 2019, taking on the role as Chief of Global Football Development.

Now, however, he could be heading back for the dugout.

According to Swiss paper Blick, Wenger has been approached with a view to becoming the next Switzerland manager.

Vladimir Petkovic, who had led the Swiss national team for seven years and steered them to the quarter-finals of Euro 2020, earlier this week moved to Bordeaux, freeing up the post.

Wenger’s national team stance

It is a bit like a part-time job coaching a national team: it is 10 matches per year. I am used to doing 60, so that has never really tempted me
- Arsene Wenger

Wenger has previously been linked to various national team posts. He was associated with the Netherlands job on occasion, while he has admitted he has turned down the France role on several occasions.

“I refused this offer several times [to coach France]... I prefer club football,” he told AFP in 2019. “For me, it is a bit like a part-time job coaching a national team: it is 10 matches per year. I am used to doing 60, so that has never really tempted me.”

It remains to be seen if his stance on international football has softened from being away from the game.

Wenger previously offered Swiss role

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Wenger might have been Switzerland head coach previously in his career – and it is a job that could have totally transformed his trajectory.

Back in 1995, when he was still at Nagoya Grampus and a total unknown in England, he was offered the post but turned it down.

It proved to be a pivotal decision in his career. At that point in time, Switzerland boasted a strong national team, having just reached the last-16 of the 1994 World Cup.

Following Wenger’s decision to turn down the post, though, they missed out on qualification for the two subsequent competitions.

A year later, meanwhile, the Frenchman was offered a role by Arsenal and this time took it, setting in motion events that would fashion the history of the North London side and help to define an era in the Premier League.