In Depth

Arsene Wenger says age discrimination is ‘difficult to take’

Could Thomas Tuchel replace the Arsenal boss and become the club’s next manager?

Arsenal’s long-serving manager Arsene Wenger believes that criticism from the club’s supporters could be down to his age rather than the team’s lack of success on the pitch.

Wenger, 68, was appointed Arsenal manager in 1996. Since then he has led the north London club to three Premier League titles, seven FA Cups and one Champions League final. However, the club are without a title win in 14 years. Currently sixth place in the Premier League, they’re in danger of missing out on the Champions League for a second successive season.

Many Arsenal fans have called for Wenger to be sacked and it’s claimed he could leave the club at the end of the season.

The Frenchman acknowledges that football is a results business but says that criticism of his age is hard to take. Quoted by Sky Sports, Wenger told broadcaster beIN: “When you age, you focus on doing well for your club and ignore all the rest. The older you get, the more it becomes age discrimination. 

“I accept if the results are not good enough then you have to take the consequences. But overall that perpetual thing of how long you have been at a club, how old you are, I find that a bit difficult to take.

“But all the rest I have to accept because I am in a public job and have to make results and I accept I will be judged on results.”

Wenger not keen on Hollywood-style ending

While the Gunners are struggling domestically, they could still qualify for next year’s Champions League if they win the Europa League this season.

After beating AC Milan in the last round, Arsenal will play CSKA Moscow in the Europa League quarter-finals on 5 and 12 April.

Wenger told beIN that the possibility of winning the final on 16 May didn’t compare to what he’s achieved with the club in his 22-year reign. He said he was “maybe naive enough” to believe that time and perspective would make his achievements stand out, rather than “the result of the last game or how much I will be applauded when I stop”.

He added: “I’m a little bit fed up of all that modern thing about.. image. I’ve always worked my whole life... with the idea of who you are rather than how you look so I’m not too concerned about that.”

Is Tuchel a target for the Gunners?

In the past few months there has been huge speculation over who will be the next manager of Arsenal. Luis Enrique, Massimiliano Allegri and Carlo Ancelotti have all been linked with the Gunners, but the latest name tipped to replace Wenger is Thomas Tuchel.

This weekend, the German media outlet Kicker said that the 44-year-old former Borussia Dortmund head coach is the favourite to take over at Arsenal and will replace Wenger this summer. Bild also reports that Tuchel has turned down Bayern Munich. It quoted former Germany international Lothar Matthaus who says Tuchel is “in contact” with the Arsenal board. 

However, the London Evening Standard says that Arsenal are “yet to make a formal approach to any potential candidate” despite the speculation regarding Tuchel today. 

Next Arsenal manager: latest odds

Even though he has a contract until the end of next season, the bookies believe Wenger’s Arsenal career will come to an end this summer. We look at who’s tipped to take over at the Emirates.

Here are the latest prices, according to Oddschecker:

  • Thomas Tuchel: 6/4 
  • Carlo Ancelotti: 8/1 
  • Joachim Loew: 8/1 
  • Massimiliano Allegri: 12/1 
  • Thierry Henry: 14/1 
  • Brendan Rodgers: 16/1 
  • Mikel Arteta: 16/1

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