PARIS — Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he remained faithful to the club despite offers from Paris Saint-Germain’s wealthy Qatari owners.
The main reason behind the Frenchman’s 20 years in north London? His enduring love for the Gunners.
“Why did not I say yes (to PSG)? Because I love where I am,” Wenger said on the eve of Tuesday’s Champions League game between PSG and Arsenal in Group A at the Parc des Princes.
L’Equipe newspaper reported Monday that PSG had made three approaches to Wenger since Qatar Sports Investments took over the club in 2011,
“I know well the owners, but I feel always I remained loyal to Arsenal Football Club because I think it’s a club that has the qualities I love,” Wenger said.
IF AT FIRST…
Wenger is starting a 19th consecutive campaign in Europe’s most prestigious competition. But Arsenal has never won Europe’s biggest prize, losing to Barcelona in the 2006 final, and the Gunners are looking to get beyond the last 16 for the first time since 2010.
Wenger’s contract with Arsenal expires at the end of the season, but he said his situation does not put him under extra pressure to finally deliver the Champions League title.
“I’ve been focusing on next game. I don’t think like that,” Wenger said, when asked if his motivation was magnified by his contract situation. “I think I played over 170 games in the Champions League and it’s every time the same: you want to do well in the next one. My personal case is not at stake in that at all.”
LET’S (NOT) GET PHYSICAL
Wenger admitted his side is not as “physically” ready as he wished to take on the four-time defending French champions. But he added that the extra experience brought in by new signings Granit Xhaka, Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez has helped his squad transform into a more mature outfit.
“The squad is between (age) 24 and 30, basically,” Wenger said. “That’s where you have a good combination of physical strength and experience. But we still want to keep giving chances to young players and keep the mixture right.”