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Transfer Rater: Costa to Milan, Ox to Chelsea


Arsene Wenger

Latest Club: Arsenal

2016/2017 English Premier League

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Previous Clubs: Nancy Lorraine, AS Monaco, Nagoya Grampus Eight

Honours: English Premier League: 2004, 2002, 1998; FA Cup: 2015, 2014, 2005, 2003, 2002, 1998; FA Community Shield: 2015, 2014, 2004, 2002, 1999, 1998; French Ligue 1: 1988; French Cup: 1991; Japanese Super Cup: 1996

After years of success with Arsenal, culminating in the "Invincibles" campaign of 2003-04, Arsene Wenger is viewed as one of the best managers to have ever been a part of the English game. Wenger's name was known to few when he took over at Arsenal in September 1996, but his studious style of management brought prolonged glory and hero status as he became the longest-serving manager in the club's history.

Wenger was never covered in glory as a player, only making his professional debut as a 28-year-old with Strasbourg after playing most of his career in the semi-pro game with Mulhouse and Vauban. However, with Strasbourg's youth team, then Cannes and Nancy Lorraine as his first jobs in management, his big break would come in 1987 at Monaco. Within a year Wenger won the French title and was named Manager of the Year.

Several years of success would follow at the Stade Louis II stadium, but he was dismissed in 1994 after a poor start to the season and it was then that Wenger's love affair with the Japanese game began. A year after leaving Monaco he was named coach of Nagoya Grampus Eight in what was still the fledgling J-League. Wenger's managerial acumen transformed the club's fortunes and saw them climb from the bottom three to runners-up spot in just one year, also winning the Super Cup, before he left.

Wenger was something of an unknown quantity in England, but he adapted quickly as Arsenal won the Double in his first full season in charge, 1997-98. For the following three seasons the Gunners would be known as the bridesmaids and never the bride, however Wenger brought the Double back to Highbury in 2002 with the talents of Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry on show, and many pundits believed his brand of exciting attacking football would lead to an era of domination for Arsenal.

It didn't, but Wenger's philosophy reached its peak when Arsenal took the crown in 2003-04 - in outstanding fashion. They went the entire season undefeated, the first club to achieve the feat since Preston in the 1800s. As Wenger stated, it left his Arsenal "immortal ".

Disappointing league performances followed though (despite an FA Cup win), and Wenger was left short again as the side failed to beat Barcelona in the 2006 Champions League final. When David Dein left the Arsenal board in April 2007 rumours surrounding Wenger's position went into overdrive, but he signed a new deal at the club soon after.

Wenger has remained without lifting silverware since 2005, while the Frenchman has been dealt significant blows having seen key personnel that he has nurtured - including Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri - opt to leave the club.

In 2014 he picked up the silverware he richly deserved as Arsenal won the FA Cup, and he signed a new three-year deal soon after. For what he has brought to England (and in beating the milestone of George Allison to become the club's longest serving manager), he is viewed as one of the best and most respected managers in the game.

The FA Cup victory was crucial as Wenger had come under a lot of pressure after failing to win a trophy in nine years.

Wenger would retain the FA Cup the following season winning his 6th and the club's 12th in 2015, defeating Aston Villa 4-0 in the final.

Strengths: Studious and clever, he is brilliant in the transfer market and develops a father-like relationship with his players. He has a vision and remains true to his overall plan in order to make it happen.

Weaknesses: One-eyed when it comes to his own players, he is also extremely stubborn when it comes to transfers and making wholesale changes to his side. He often lacks a Plan B.

Career high: Taking Arsenal to a 49 game unbeaten streak, winning the Premier League title with an unbeaten season in 2003-04.

Career low: After a summer of turmoil with regards the futures of key duo Nasri and Fabregas, Wenger's Arsenal were humiliated at Old Trafford as their rivals United inflicted an 8-2 defeat on the Gunners.

Tactics: Favouring a short passing game, Wenger likes his players to be technically excellent and 4-4-2 brought him a lot of success in his early career. Now favouring small, tricky wingers and a sitting defensive midfielder, the emphasis is always on attack, with a 4-3-3 system his preferred policy.

Quotes: "At a young age winning is not the most important thing... the important thing is to develop creative and skilled players with good confidence. " Wenger on his footballing philosophy.

Trivia: Wenger was awarded France's highest decoration, the Légion d'Honneur, in 2002.

Words: Jonathan Molyneux-Carter