Arsene Wenger

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Report: Benitez ‘increasingly likely to quit’ Newcastle United

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Newcastle United is going to make one more push to keep fan-loved manager Rafa Benitez, but it’s not looking good for his future on Tyneside beyond June 30.

The Telegraph says Rafa Benitez is likely to walk away from Newcastle United when his contract expires at the end of the month.

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It’s another fight over money, for the most part, with owner Mike Ashley also involved in multiple takeover reports. And Benitez is reportedly subject to a $15 million per-year offer from Asia.

Benitez has been told he will have around ($77 million) in this summer’s window and can also raise money from player sales. But, although exceptions could be made, he was also warned that the club could not sanction long-term deals for players over the age of 28, particularly as he was only considering a one-year extension himself.

That last part makes sense, especially if Benitez were to saddle the Magpies with a long-term deal on a player he favors but may not be the next guy’s cup of tea (Salomon Rondon).

Additionally, the Evening Chronicle has a number of big names linked with taking Benitez’s place, including former French boss Laurent Blanc, recently freed AC Milan manager Gennaro Gattuso, and David Moyes. Believe it or not, Arsene Wenger is also mentioned should Ashley be willing to spend more (so maybe mentioning him is a bit much).

Blanc or Gattuso is believable, and might be palatable for the currently disgusted supporter base, but hiring an ex-Sunderland failure in Moyes would likely send an already livid group through the roof. Then again, the organization did twice hire Joe Kinnear.

Wenger hints he may be retired from management

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It’s been a year since Arsene Wenger‘s Arsenal departure was announced, and the legendary manager remains on the sidelines.

Whether by his choice or not, Wenger has spent the year away from soccer, instead vacationing and being a studio TV pundit in France. In his latest public comments, Wenger hinted that while he still plans to return to a role in soccer, he likely won’t be a club manager anymore.

“I thought I will come back into management very quickly, but I enjoyed taking a little distance,” Wenger told the BBC. Now I’m at a crossroads.”

Per the BBC, Wenger later added: “You will see me again in football. As a manager… I don’t know.”

In the weeks and months after Wenger was effectively forced out of Arsenal after 22 seasons, Wenger repeatedly said that he had many offers to return to management, and it was only a matter of time before he’d accept one of these offers. And yet, it’s been a year and Wenger remains on the outside, perhaps a clear sign that today’s soccer has passed him by, and unless he wants to move to the Middle East or another soccer outpost, he won’t be able to get a top job in Western Europe.

Despite his acrimonious exit, Wenger still supports the Gunners and had some thoughts on the team’s season, as well as the club’s run to the Europa League final.

“I miss competition and I miss Arsenal because I left my heart in there,” Wenger said. “I gave my life to this club for 22 years. Every minute of my life was dedicated to this club and I miss the values we developed inside the club.

“I support Arsenal. It will be forever my club.”

Former Arsenal midfielder Diaby announces retirement

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Arsene Wenger had high hopes for Abou Diaby when he signed just over 13 years ago in London. Unfortunately, injuries kept Diaby from realizing his sky-high potential.

Arsenal confirmed on Monday that Diaby has announced his retirement from playing soccer at the age of 32. Diaby has been without a club since the end of the 2016-2017 season, where he left Marseille after playing just five league matches in two years.

Despite a career with Arsenal that lasted nearly a decade (January 2006 through July 2015), Diaby made just 180 appearances in all competitions for the Gunners. That’s because, according to the Daily Mail, he suffered an incredible 42 separate injuries in London. Diaby missed action due to injuries to his calf muscles, thigh muscles, knees, back, and one concussion he suffered as well.

All in all, he only had two seasons in his entire career where he played more than 20 league matches in a season – 2008/2009 and 2009-2010. Diaby’s 2009/2010 season was enough to get him into the France National Team squad for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. However, despite starting all three group games, that tournament ended in infamy for Les Bleus, with some players staging a mutiny.

Amazingly, despite the years of injuries and lack of matches, Wenger continued to believe in Diaby and give him a second chance, hoping that if healthy, he could shore up the team’s shaky central midfield position. Alas, Diaby was never truly able to be fit for long enough stretches, and Arsenal let him leave in 2015.

When he did play, Diaby showed good technical ability for a player standing at 6’4″, and he was agile enough to evade tacklers when dribbling through midfield.

It’s a sad end to Diaby’s career, but by officially calling it quits, perhaps the Frenchman can now move on to another career, within soccer or on the outside. Even though he never became a club legend, he’ll always have a connection to Arsenal.

Report: Qatar reach out to Wenger to lead national team at 2022 World Cup

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Arsene Wenger reportedly has a chance to be on the sidelines at the 2022 World Cup as a manager.

Looking to hire a big name in the soccer world, the Qatar soccer establishment has turned its attention to the former Arsenal boss to lead Qatar into its first World Cup, according to France Football. The report states that Wenger has long been on the Qatari shortlist, either as a sporting director for Paris Saint-Germain, a club owned by Qataris, or to take over the Qatar National Team.

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If given the job, Wenger would also reportedly play a large role in youth development across the oil-and-gas-rich nation.

Since leaving Arsenal at the end of May, Wenger has been without a job, spending time in his native France while waiting by the phone, presumably. Wenger’s name has circulated around many of Europe’s top clubs when there has been a change in manager, but the 69-year-old has yet to sign with a new club.

The report by France Football says it’s unknown yet how Wenger will respond to the Qatari approach. If he joins, it will be his first foray into National Team football after more than three decades as a club coach.

Report: Bayern opening would interest Wenger

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As Unai Emery sorts the pieces at Arsenal, the club’s legendary boss is reportedly hoping to do the same for another European giant.

Arsene Wenger is hopeful that Bayern Munich will look its way should the Bavarians choose to part ways with new coach Niko Kovac early in its campaign, and Bild reports that Bayern is considering just that.

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Bayern is nine points back of first place Borussia Dortmund and even two behind Kovac’s former side, Eintracht Frankfurt, after 12 matches of the Bundesliga season.

The latest setback at the Allianz Arena, a 3-3 draw to newly-promoted Fortuna Dusseldorf after holding leads of 2-0 and 3-1, has many thinking Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge could make a change.

Wenger last managed a club not named Arsenal in 1996 when we led Japanese side Nagoya Grampus Eight. Before that, he led Monaco and Nancy.

How would Wenger fare at a side like Bayern? It’s difficult to imagine he’d struggle given that the club’s defensive players are quite good, with Mats Hummels and Joshua Kimmich among those who are not the reason the Bavarians aren’t winning matches like they should.