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Feb, 6, 2011

Wenger lines up Stojkovic

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed who he would like to succeed him at the Emirates once he retires from the game: Dragan Stojkovic.

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As a player, Stojkovic was on the books of Red Star Belgrade and Marseille, while he also enjoyed a long international career as captain of Yugoslavia. Now, the man nicknamed Piksi (Pixie) is managing Wenger's former club Nagoya Grampus Eight and has impressed the Frenchman.

"I would love Stojkovic to be my successor, there are a hundred reasons for that," Wenger told Serbian paper Vecernje Novosti. ''Our ideas are the same and we both strive for perfect football. I knew he was going to have teams playing attacking football with many passes.

''He has done that, showing he will be a great coach.I told him that if he could transmit his football imagination to his players he would fly high."

Stojkovic won the J-League title with Nagoya last season and also played under Wenger when he was coach at club - picking up the Japanese league's MVP award in 1995.

Wenger also revealed that Stojkovic is a regular visitor to England.

"Dragan comes to London at least once a year," Wenger confirmed. "We meet up, chat and try to outsmart each other. It's a great achievement for him to have won a championship. I was a coach in Japan for two years and didn't manage it even though I had Piksi, who was the best player in the league, in my team."

Wenger admitted for the first time that he was considering his options at Arsenal a year ago, telling the club's official website in January 2010: ''What is important is that the club is in good hands, whether they are mine or someone else's. Whether I personally leave on a positive or negative note is a little bit less important."

The Frenchman, though, signed a new contract at the club in August, keeping him in north London until 2014, although said that it would most likely be his last when he claimed: ''At 65 I will certainly move to some different job, unless I still feel like I feel today.''

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