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Arsene Wenger admits ‘Emirates Stadium made me suffer’ following statue unveiling

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Arsenal legend Arsene Wenger has reacted to the unveiling of a statue of himself outside the Emirates Stadium.

Wenger is widely considered one of the greatest football managers of all time largely due to his work with the Gunners and revolutionising the English game.

The Frenchman won three Premier League titles – including their unbeaten ‘Invincibles’ season of 2003/04 – as well as a record seven FA Cups. Wenger also led Arsenal to their first ever Champions League final in 2006, but were cruelly beaten by Barcelona.

Wenger spent 22 years at Arsenal before standing down at the end of the 2017/18 season. He did not return to the Emirates Stadium until midway through the 2022/23 campaign, attending a 3-1 win against West Ham United.

In honour of his achievements, Arsenal have unveiled a statue of Wenger outside the Emirates Stadium, becoming the fifth person to be immortalised next to the ground. Tony Adams, Herbert Chapman, Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp are the others bestowed with such a feat.

Speaking to Arsenal’s club channels, Wenger admitted that he feels ’emotional’ to be honoured in such a way, though laughed at the irony that moving to the Emirates Stadium made him ‘suffer’.

READ THE LATEST ARSENAL NEWS, TRANSFER RUMOURS & GOSSIP

“It looks a bit strange to look at yourself not moving! But it’s emotional because it’s an honour and overall, I always wanted to be part of this club, and somewhere I feel I’m part of this club forever and that’s where I want to be. So, I’m happy because I’m where I want to be,” Wenger said.

“I was always animated by the energy of working for something that’s bigger than me. Overall, I feel that my contribution was to make this club what it deserves to be: one of the biggest clubs in the world. So, when I come now and I see the stadium, I see my work was worth it because I feel that this stadium made me suffer. I’m happy to stand in the shade of this stadium because I had some sleepless nights because of it!

“But overall, it’s great to see it and come back to see such a fantastic atmosphere now, with our fans and with the team doing well. For me, it’s a great satisfaction.”

Arsenal completed their move from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium in 2006, but the move came at the cost of not having vast funds to spend on transfers while they paid off debt incurred by relocation.

Wenger was forced to sell most of his star players – including the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie, Emmanuel Adebayor and Samir Nasri – while mostly being unable to directly replace them in the transfer market.

Nevertheless, Arsenal remained competitive in the Premier League and finished in the top four in every season under Wenger until his final two years at the club.

LISTEN NOW TO THE CHRONICLES OF A GOONER, 90MIN’S ARSENAL PODCAST

On this edition of The Chronicles of a Gooner, part of the 90min podcast network, Harry Symeou reacts to Arsenal’s interest in David Raya and what it means for Aaron Ramsdale, Folarin Balogun’s plea to the club and the Emirates Cup!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!





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