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Mar 11, 2013

Bayern reveal Wenger approaches

Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness says the Bundesliga giants have tried to lure Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger to the Bavarian capital on numerous occasions over the past 18 years.

• Arsenal blog: Cat for the pigeons
• Bayern blog: Hope for Arsenal?

Wenger's men will do battle with Bayern in their Champions League round of 16 second leg match this week after going down 3-1 in the first leg three weeks ago.

Ahead of the clash, Hoeness revealed Bayern's admiration of Wenger stretches back to the mid 1990s, before he moved from AS Monaco to J.League outfit Nagoya Grampus.

"We did try to get him at Bayern Munich a few times," Hoeness told The Sun newspaper.

"Even before he went to Japan, Franz Beckenbauer and I went to Nice and discussed with him and everything was clear, but then at the end of the day he decided to go to Japan.

"We were very surprised. From Japan he went to Arsenal and over the years, whenever we were looking for a new coach, Wenger was always one we considered.

"He's a very serious person, very strong and has a very good idea about the game. There have been a few moments where we have discussed his name over the years.

"He has always remained loyal to Arsenal which is fantastic behaviour. But it is true we wanted him at Bayern a few times."

Wenger, though, will not be joining the Bundesliga leaders anytime soon, after Bayern signed former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola to take the reins from next season. Hoeness believes the capture of Guardiola is a sign of the strength of German football at the moment.

"We are proud we signed him," he explained. "It's a fantastic thing for the Bundesliga.

"But the problem for him and Bayern is it's a risk as well. He will be under huge pressure. I think we will be champions this year so the pressure on him and the club will be big. With Guardiola, you can only win the championship, nothing else. Jupp Heynckes is doing a fantastic job and Guardiola will be measured by what happens this year."

"He has not got an unlimited budget. We discussed with him how the club is run. Yes, we were competing against clubs who offered him an unlimited budget.

"One thing is clear. It's a giant signing for the Bundesliga that Pep Guardiola has signed for Bayern. He had a lot of offers. I don't think it's the best-paying club but he had the impression that the philosophy of this club fitted him."

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