In an era where Premier League team owners seek instant gratification, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has stood tall and is currently the longest-serving manager in the English top-flight. The French manager is in his 20th year as the Gunners boss and has admitted that it takes a lot of commitment and hard-work to keep the club at the top in a high pressure environment. The Gunners boss was targeted by a number of teams during his tenure in north London, and he has confirmed that he will reveal all the offers he turned down at the right time.
The Frenchman has experienced a number of highs and an equal number of lows during his tenure as the north London club's manager. Wenger built arguably the best team of the Premier League era when his side went the entire season unbeaten during the 2003/04 campaign, but then had to endure a lot of pressure during nine trophy-less campaigns between 2005 and 2014 when they finally won the FA Cup. There was the heartbreak of the 2006 Champions League final and the 2011 League Cup final loss at the hands of Birmingham City, but through all of this the former AS Monaco boss has kept Arsenal among the top-four clubs in the Premier League, not once failing to reach the knockout stages of the competition.
The 66-year-old manager saw the transition from the traditional Highbury stadium to the ultra-modern Emirates stadium, and despite the budget cuts, and loss of influential players to rival teams, he kept them in the mix at the sharp end of the table. The pressure of not winning a trophy, however, was getting stronger with every passing year. Wenger has revealed that had Arsenal not won the 2014 FA Cup final against Hull City at Wembley, he would probably not be the manager of the team at the moment. They have since gone on to defend the title and are preparing for a fifth-round clash against Hull City on Saturday (20 February).
The pressure at the moment, as they looked to win their first trophy in nine years almost cost Arsenal dear, after the Tigers made a blistering start to go up 2-0 within the eighth minutes of the game. The Gunners, however, held on and came into the game to finally win it 3-2 in extra time. The manager admits that a loss at Wembley on 17 May 2014, could have prompted him to walk away from the 12-time FA Cup champions.
"If we had lost it, I don't know. Honestly, I don't know. Usually I respect my contracts and I fight for everything. I think as well to say to you that 17 years at a club depend on one cup final... so it's better you don't go to the final then. You don't have that problem," Wenger said, as quoted by the Mirror.
"But it would have been a problem had we not won, because it would have been a massive disappointment for everybody. It would have been difficult. But we won."
"No disrespect to them, but the size of our opponent would have made it worse. If you go to a final against Man United, people think you can win or lose. If you go to a final against Hull, everybody expects you to win and the disappointment would have been bigger," he added.
"I never forget the decisive moments in the game - Kieran Gibbs cleared off the line at 2-0 down. You could say the same for Santi Cazorla to score the free-kick to make it 2-1.
"I'm committed to this club and I think I've shown that. One day I will show you all the proposals that I turned down to stay here.
"That means on my side it was always very clear. I am committed to do well. If I don't do well enough I hope the club will tell me. People are very demanding. But when you look at our consistency, we are the only club who, for such a long time, has always been at the top. It looks easy when it happens, but you will see one day it is not as easy as it looks to keep that -consistency going over the years. It's very difficult. It demands commitment and hard work," the French manager explained.