Wenger made his mind up seven years before he actually joined the club.
Ahead of the Champions League meeting between his current and former clubs Arsene Wenger has revealed that he knew he wanted to be Arsenal manager ever since he first traveled to Highbury in 1989, reports the London Evening Standard.
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Wenger had been managing AS Monaco for two years when in January 1989 – after visiting Turkey to watch an upcoming opponent – he took a detour via England, as they were one of the few nations not to take a winter break.
“I immediately thought that football in England was great. There was a fantastic atmosphere at Highbury and I just wondered ‘is everywhere like this?’ – even at that time I thought it would be great to be part of that,” Wenger said.
The Frenchman spent another five years with Monaco, before moving to Japan to take over at Gary Lineker’s former club, Nagoya Grampus Eight.
Wenger spent just over a season with the Japanese club, before he was offered the job at Arsenal, an offer that he couldn’t refuse.
“Obviously on that day I could never imagine that I would come back one day as manager, it was not even in my head. It was just a coincidence because on that day I first met David Dein and from then on we developed a friendship,” he added.