By Chris Harris
Regrets? Arsène Wenger has had a few this season, but he insists that the 2008/09 campaign has been anything but a disaster.
Arsenal secured a 12th successive year of Champions League football and reached the last four in that competition as well as the FA Cup. However, Wenger and his players have been slated in some quarters for failing to lift a trophy.
The Frenchman accepts that Arsenal have room for improvement but he is convinced that his squad will blossom in the years to come.
“In the big games, we were still a bit young and played a bit the occasion more than the game, because we were under a lot of pressure and wanted to do so well,” accepted Wenger.
“But at a big club, it is simple. There is philosophy, a style of play and a culture of how you want to play the game. We have all that.
“People think it is a disaster to get to the Semi-Finals of the Champions League and the FA Cup, while finishing fourth. OK, so you can do better. But if that is a disaster, then the future of the Club is very promising.”
To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of Wenger’s exit have been greatly exaggerated. Nonetheless, the day will eventually come when the Frenchman bids farewell to the Club he has transformed since 1996.
So what will Wenger’s legacy be? His trophy haul speaks for itself but the 59-year-old hopes he will be remembered for much more besides.
“First of all, legacy is about leaving the Club in every aspect that is important in a good situation,” he said.
“That means you leave a good squad, good young players, a good financial situation, a good structure of the game at the Club.
“What is the most important is the Club goes on and continues to improve. That for me is the biggest pride for any manager who has a positive ambition and philosophy.
“And the state of our club is fantastic.”Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 22 May 2009