There’s only one Arsène Wenger. And in the Premier League era, the former Arsenal manager boasts the unique achievement of going an entire campaign without losing.
Now, the architect of that famous Invincibles season in 2003/04 season has been cast in bronze – fittingly standing outside the stadium he masterminded the very existence of. He joins the other cluster of Arsenal legends outside the Emirates Stadium; including Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Tony Adams, and fellow Arsenal manager Herbert Chapman.
Alongside that untouchable achievement, the Frenchman enjoyed a particularly illustrious career in north London, with many Arsenal fans considering him the club’s greatest-ever manager after his 22-year spell.
Wenger led the team to an FA Cup and Premier League double in his first full season (1997/98), before repeating that same trick in the 2001/02 season. No manager has won more FA Cups than he has, and he also led the team to the Champions League final in 2006, right before Arsenal departed their former stadium, Highbury, and set sail for Wenger’s Emirates Stadium vision.
Fans have long wondered when the great man would be honoured in this manner, and today (July 28) the news was finally confirmed after vans were spotted unloading the statue beside the stadium, before it was officially announced by the club on their social media pages later in the day.
Arsène Wenger will also be a guest of honour at Arsenal’s pre-season Emirates Cup friendly fixture against Monaco on August 2. After being present for Arsenal’s 3-1 Boxing Day victory against West Ham United in 2022, this will mark just the second time the manager has attended a match at the Emirates Stadium after he stepped away from the dugout in May 2018. Wenger is also expected to visit the statue in the coming days.
Speaking about the impact of Wenger, current Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, who played him between 2011 and 2016, said: “The way he defended the club, the way he presented himself, the way he was loyal to the players and staff is something I really took from him and is an example for me”.
Arsenal kick off the new Premier League season on August 12, with a home fixture against Nottingham Forest. Arsène Wenger will be in attendance at the club’s friendly against Monaco on August 2.