Wenger reveals Man U job offer and why Arsenal rejected Guardiola …says ‘I’ll return to Arsenal one day – Newstrends
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Wenger reveals Man U job offer and why Arsenal rejected Guardiola …says ‘I’ll return to Arsenal one day

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Arsene Wenger has revealed he was once offered the Manchester United job – and the chance to sign Pep Guardiola at Arsenal.

He also says he is ready to return to Arsenal “one day”, having not set foot in Emirates Stadium since leaving two years ago.

Wenger, 70, stepped down in May 2018 after helping the Gunners win three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups during his 22 years in charge.

The Gunners legend is now working as FIFA’s Head of Global Development, with a managerial career spanning four decades to reflect on.

Towards the end of his Arsenal tenure and since his exit, Wenger was linked with a return to France to take over at Paris Saint-Germain, but it wasn’t the only high-profile job he turned down.

“I was offered that job (PSG) a few times,” Wenger said in a lengthy interview with The Times.

He also confirmed he had the chance to take over at Old Trafford – but he wouldn’t reveal when.

“I don’t tell you that,” Wenger said. “But I can tell you Man Utd offered me the job.”

“Ah, we had some good battles,” he added on former adversary Sir Alex Ferguson. “He’s an intelligent man. You don’t have a career like this guy if you’re stupid.”

Wenger never took up residence in Manchester but one man who did was City boss Guardiola. Had things worked out differently, he might have joined Wenger in north London during his playing days.

“When Guardiola was still a player, he came to my home to ask to play for Arsenal,” Wenger said. “At the time I had [Patrick] Vieira. I had Gilberto Silva. I couldn’t take him.”

While Guardiola never got the chance to be Wenger’s protege, City starlet Phil Foden is now developing under the Catalan at the Etihad.

Wenger says he watched Foden in England’s recent 1-0 victory over Iceland, and he wants to see him given more opportunities despite a turgid game.

“It was bad. I’ve seen so many good players not doing well for England. They’re scared to play.

“Phil Foden is a guy with big quality, but at the moment he has not made it. He hasn’t played enough at Manchester City. You need about 100 games to know your job in the Premier League.

“I follow every English game on television. It’s my league. You don’t need to come from a special school to know Bayern Munich will win the championship in Germany, that Juventus will win it in Italy, that PSG will win it in France.

“England is still the most unpredictable league in Europe, even if last year was not a good year and English teams didn’t do well in Europe.”

Meanwhile, Wenger says he is ready to return to the club “one day”.

He has been invited back since, but says it was best to “cut completely” from the club after his departure.

“I thought it’s better to follow from a distance,” he told The Times.

Wenger says his exit from Arsenal was a “very lonely, very painful” separation and he currently has “no connection at all with the club”.

That is in contrast to another of the Premier League’s long-serving managers, Sir Alex Ferguson, who was offered a seat on the Manchester United board when he retired from management in 2013.

Wenger said he did not know why he had not been offered a role with the north London club, but would have accepted it had he been given the opportunity.

“I always said I would still play a part in the club, but I could understand that at the start it’s better that we take a complete distance,” he said.

Wenger previously stated he wanted to return to management in early 2019, but instead took up a role as FIFA’s job in November of that year.

Having spent some time away from the dugout, he now admits he’s “not sure” if he will manage a club again,

“For 40 years I did only that every day in my life,” he said. “[Now I am] Making some sport. Visiting my family and friends. Holidays. Reading a lot. Enjoying life but in a sensible way, because I’m a little bit drilled by 30, 40 years of discipline, you know?”

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Chelsea set to give Osimhen seven-year contract

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Chelsea set to give Osimhen seven-year contract

Victor Osimhen is fully focused on joining Chelsea even though Mauricio Pochettino has left his role as manager, while the Blues are well ahead of Paris Saint-Germain and Saudi clubs in the race for the striker.

After months of speculation about his future, Pochettino left Stamford Bridge by mutual consent on Tuesday night. Pochettino feels he has left Chelsea in a good position to improve next season, while Blues chiefs want a new manager to come in and take the side to the next level.

While Pochettino could replace Erik ten Hag at Manchester United, Chelsea are eyeing up Ipswich Town boss Kieran McKenna – coincidentally a former Man Utd coach – to fill their vacant Stamford Bridge hot seat.

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Despite Pochettino’s departure, some of Chelsea’s transfer plans are unlikely to change.

First of all, club officials know they need to make a huge investment to strengthen the attack, and the main target remains Victor Osimhen.

The Nigerian striker – whose release clause is €130m (£111m) – will leave Napoli in the summer and he desires to play in the Premier League next year, wearing a Chelsea shirt.

Sources have confirmed to TEAMtalk that Osimhen has already given his informal approval for a possible move to the Blues. Only some aspects of his prospective seven-year contract with Chelsea need to be discussed. Chelsea are willing to pay the centre-forward slightly more than what he earns at Napoli.

Chelsea set to give Osimhen seven-year contract

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Barcelona sack Xavi with flick set to replace him

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Xavi Hernandez

Barcelona sack Xavi with flick set to replace him

Xavi will take charge of Barcelona for the final time on Sunday, when they host Sevilla in their last La Liga match of the season.

The 44-year-old, who had been contracted until 2025, was informed of the club’s decision during a meeting with club president Joan Laporta and sporting director Deco on Friday – exactly one month since it was announced that he would remain at the club.

Former Spain midfielder Xavi said in January that he was going leave the Camp Nou, but he was persuaded to stay by Laporta in April.

But recent comments from Xavi, in which he opened up about the club’s financial struggles, are said to have angered Laporta.

Barcelona said they would like to “thank Xavi for his work as a coach” since taking charge in 2021.

“It is never easy to leave the club of your life, but I am very proud after two and a half years at the head of a dressing room that has been like a second family,” said Xavi in an open letter issued on social media.

“From Sunday I will be just one more Barca fan, in the stands.

“Because before being a player or a coach I am a Barcelona fan and I only want the best for the club in my life, which will always have me at its disposal.”

The Catalan club said a “new structure” will be confirmed in the coming days, with Flick set to take charge.

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The 59-year-old has been out of work since he was sacked by Germany in September 2023.

Flick, who replaced Joachim Low as national boss in 2021, became the first Germany manager to be sacked since the role was created in 1926, winning just 12 of his 25 matches in charge.

Flick’s stint with Germany came after he guided Bayern Munich to a treble in 2020, winning the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League.

Barcelona forward Robert Lewandowski, 35, played under Flick at the Allianz Arena for two seasons.

After guiding Barcelona to the La Liga title in 2022-23, Xavi’s side put up a disappointing defence to their crown this term.

The Catalans are 12 points behind rivals Real Madrid, with one game remaining in the season.

Barcelona were knocked out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage by Paris St-Germain.

Xavi spent 17 years with Barcelona as a player, having emerged from the club’s La Masia academy.

After four years’ playing for Qatari side Al-Sadd, Xavi retired in 2019 to take over the side as manager.

He remained in Qatar for a further two seasons, before replacing Ronald Koeman in November 2021 as Barcelona boss.

Xavi helped the club to the La Liga title and Spanish Cup during his first full season in charge, earning the side a return to the Champions League.

Sevilla boss Quique Sanchez Flores has criticised Barcelona’s treatment of Xavi.

“I shouldn’t say this, but how badly Barcelona treats its legends. What a bad streak,” Flores told reporters on Friday afternoon.

“With Koeman, with Messi, with Xavi now – how bad. I wish clubs treated their legends well. That would be fantastic. Xavi is a legend of the club.”

Flores added he had “doubts the criticism about him [Xavi] is correct”.

Barcelona will finish the season second in LaLiga behind champions Real Madrid and Xavi will remain in charge for the game at Sevilla.

During his 141 games as Barcelona boss, Xavi won 89 matches – giving him a 63% win ratio.

Barcelona sack Xavi with flick set to replace him

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Lookman scores stunning hat-trick in Atalanta vs Leverkusen Europa League final

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Ademola Lookman

Lookman scores stunning hat-trick in Atalanta vs Leverkusen Europa League final

Ademola Lookman was the star of the night as his hat-trick ended Bayer Leverkusen’s unbeaten run and secured Atalanta’s first European Cup title.

Lookman’s three goals marked the first hat-trick in a European final in 49 years, delivering Atalanta their first-ever continental trophy.

The club from Bergamo, often overshadowed by AC and Inter Milan, has enjoyed a resurgence under Gian Piero Gasperini. This victory adds silverware to their impressive record, which includes four Champions League appearances in recent years.

Leverkusen, known for their late comebacks during their undefeated Bundesliga campaign, couldn’t recover from a slow start this time. Atalanta’s aggressive play was rewarded early when Davide Zappacosta set up Lookman, who exploited Exequiel Palacios’ lapse to score from the back post after just 12 minutes.

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Lookman, whose career has seen him move from the lower ranks of the Premier League to finding stability in Bergamo, cemented his hero status with his performance. His second goal, a brilliant nutmeg of Granit Xhaka followed by a powerful shot into the far corner, showcased his skill.

Despite Leverkusen’s efforts, including near-misses by Alex Grimaldo and Jeremie Frimpong, they couldn’t break through Atalanta’s defense. Gianluca Scamacca’s fortunate escape with only a yellow card for a rough tackle on Florian Wirtz also highlighted Leverkusen’s missed opportunities.

Coach Xabi Alonso, having quickly risen as a top coaching prospect and choosing to stay with Leverkusen despite interest from Liverpool and Bayern Munich, made tactical changes at halftime, including bringing on Victor Boniface. However, the early damage proved insurmountable.

Atalanta, content to absorb pressure and counter-attack, sealed the win with another stunning goal from Lookman. Skipping past Edmond Tapsoba, he blasted into the top corner with his left foot, clinching the victory.

This triumph is particularly sweet for Atalanta, who had previously lost all three finals under Gasperini, including a recent Coppa Italia defeat to Juventus. Their passionate fans, clad in blue and black, celebrated their historic win in Dublin.

Atalanta’s victory also marks the first time an Italian side has won the competition since Parma lifted the UEFA Cup in 1999, ending a long wait and underscoring the club’s remarkable journey to European glory.

Lookman scores stunning hat-trick in Atalanta vs Leverkusen Europa League final

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