Wenger is reportedly a leading contender to replace Carlo Ancelotti as PSG’s manager. He could leave the Arsenal bench for PSG’s as early as this summer, according to the Telegraph.
“PSG’s most senior figures have been telling members of their circle that Wenger has been persuaded to leave north London after 17 years in charge of Arsenal.
“Their least optimistic scenario is that he will move to Paris in the summer of 2014 when his current deal at Arsenal expires. But PSG’s owners have sounded adamant in recent days that they can tempt him to cross the channel 12 months early.
“[French newspaper] Le Parisien has reported that Wenger will meet PSG owners next week,” the report says.
Wenger and Arsenal are synonymous with one another, with the Frenchman having lead the club since 1996. The Gunners have won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups under his guidance, making him one of world’s soccer’s most respected and influential managers. But Arsenal has not won a trophy in eight seasons, and some fans are calling for a new manager to end the barren run.
But Wenger and Arsenal are coming to a crossroads. His contract expires after next season, and there have been conflicting reports as to whether or not Arsenal has already offered him a new deal. If the club wants him to continue past 2014, he certainly has yet to agree to do so.
Managers are often loathe to lead a team into a new season with only one year remaining on their contract, as a “lame duck” status can undermine them in the dressing room in difficult moments. This summer is shaping up to be a “moment of truth” for Wenger and Arsenal, but Wenger says he will remain at Arsenal for at least another season regardless of his contract situation.
“First of all I don’t know too much about what’s been said about me,” he said. “Then I’m concentrating on the next game and the next season. At the end of my contract I’ll see what I can do. I’ve always respected my contracts. I can’t see at my age why that should change.”
PSG has become a leading destination for Europe’s top players, coaches and executives since the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) took over the club in May 2011 and began pouring money into it. PSG has spent over £170 million ($264 million) on new players, transforming itself from a club which targets domestic honors to one that aims for European and global titles.
Ancelotti has led the charge in the French capital since December 2011, when he replaced Antoine Kombouare. The Italian steered PSG to a second-place finish in Ligue 1 in his first six months at the club. PSG’s on-field fortunes improved this season, as it is reached the quarterfinal of the UEFA Champions League and is closing in on its first Ligue 1 title since 1994.
Domestic glory may not be enough to keep Ancelotti and PSG from parting ways after this season,” the Telegraph reports.
“Ancelotti is understood to have told PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi last week that he would not be staying in Paris.”
PSG is reportedly eyeing Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho, but the Portuguese tactician is believed to be nearing a return to Chelsea FC. Meanwhile, Ancelotti has been tipped to replace Mourinho at Real Madrid.
PSG has a long-term goal of instilling more of a French identity (or public face) into the club, and Wenger is arguably the most respected French coach in the world. If the Arsenal manager decides it is time to leave North London for PSG, he would find himself at the center of one of the most exciting and ambitious projects world soccer has to offer.