Wenger May Become England Manager
BEVERLY HILLS, September 29, (THEWILL) – Arsene Wenger has refused to rule out the possibility of taking over as England manager at the end of the season as the FA will approach him again over the job but face battle with Arsenal hierarchy
Reports indicate that the Arsenal boss rebuffed the FA’s advances in the summer following Roy Hodgson’s dismissal, but Wembley chiefs are ready to make another beeline for him as they look to appoint a successor for disgraced Sam Allardyce.
The 66-year-old rejected their advances in the summer because he still had 12 months to run on his Arsenal contract but the timing of Allardyce’s unexpected departure means he could now give serious consideration to the Wembley job.
Wenger was asked recently if he felt flattered to be linked with the England job and replied: “Of course. But my priority has always been this club. Until the end of this season I’m here.”
According to Telegraph Sport, Wenger was the first man the FA approached when it was searching for a successor to Roy Hodgson after the European Championship but the Frenchman made it clear that he would not break the final year of his Arsenal contract.
At the time, the FA did not feel it could wait an entire season for Wenger and turned to Allardyce. But the country's governing body is now prepared to let the 66-year-old see out the remainder of his Arsenal deal if he wants to take over the national team next summer.
Gareth Southgate, who did not want a caretaker role following the departure of Hodgson, has now agreed to take charge of the senior England team for the next four games and there is then an international break until the World Cup qualifier against Lithuania on March 26 .
That means Southgate would need to take charge of only one extra qualifier if the FA managed to convince Wenger to leave the Emirates at the end of the season ahead of the Scotland game on June 10 .
Wenger would earn significantly more by staying at Arsenal, where he earns just over £8 million a year. The FA paid Allardyce £3 million a year, but that figure could rise for a man of the calibre of the former Monaco manager.
Wenger is celebrating 20 years as Arsenal manager, but has never ruled out taking the England job.
Asked in July whether he was interested in the England job, Wenger said: “Could I manage England? Why not? I would never rule that out, but I am happy and focused in club football.
“England is my second country. I was absolutely on my knees when England went out against Iceland. I couldn't believe it.”
Story by David Oputah