Shandong Luneng deny Arsene Wenger will be named coach after Arsenal exit
Chinese Super League club Shandong Luneng denied reports that Arsene Wenger will join the club when he leaves Arsenal at the end of the Premier League season.
Wenger, 68, will stand down from the role at the Emirates Stadium after almost 22 years at the helm of the club, with speculation concerning his next destination rampant.
But Shandong issued a statement on their social media outlets on Tuesday to deny Wenger would be hired to replace current coach Li Xiaopeng.
"We are surprised to learn from our friends online that Mr. Wenger will be transferring to our club," the club wrote on Weibo.
"Should we prepare a welcome dinner for him? We're afraid the Professor won't be a fan of our local style barbecue, so we are not inviting him over. We're very comfortable with our own Professor Li."
Li took over at the end of last season following the departure of Felix Magath and Shandong are second in the Chinese Super League, one point behind leaders Shanghai SIPG.
Wenger has previous experience working in the region after having coached Nagoya Grampus Eight in Japan prior to his appointment at Highbury in September 1996.
China has proven to be a popular destination for experienced coaches in recent seasons, with World Cup winners Marcello Lippi and Luiz Felipe Scolari, as well as Magath, Manuel Pellegrini, Fabio Capello and Sven-Goran Eriksson, all working in the Super League.
Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch