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Monday, October 19, 2009

Why Wenger Rejected Joining Read Madrid

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has conceded that Real Madrid were a big attraction when they tried to lure him away in the summer.

Wenger admits he has a soft spot for the Spanish champions, but in the end says he could not leave The Emirates.

One reason he is so committed to the Gunners is that he made a promise to his current batch of youngsters that he would remain in charge.

He told L'Equipe: "Real is the club of my childhood. When I was a kid, watching those guys in white, winning everything, then of course I am attracted by that club, but I have a pact with the young players of my team, and I want to succeed with that bet.

"I identified what was important in my job: freedom. Here, I have it.

"I could have earned bigger wages at Real, but I earn a good living in London. At my age, money can't play a key role.

"If I left for Real, I would have tried to filter through my philosophy, reorganised everything. I could have given foundations to the club's structure.

"That would not have prevented me from signing Ronaldo or Kaka. But that team is only built on bought players, while Real has a tradition of a beautiful game.

"They have to do what has been achieved at Barcelona through young players: creating a culture."

Wenger also revealed his belief that his current side could win this season's Champions League.

"People say I love a 'romantic' game, which is a kind of searching for beauty. You need such an ambition at the start.

"However, I am not a champion for beauty and only for beauty. Pleasure also comes from winning. I advocate extra soul: a team built patiently, with young players dedicated to remain together for five or 10 years, and that can identify with the culture of the game and the club.

"My team is ready to play a Champions League final. Why not winning it? We have more assets this year than the last one, because we have more certainties and more mental strength.

"Maybe I am more a builder than an investor. Actually I am realistic. When I made them build Emirates Stadium, I told myself: 'How could we stay at the highest level playing with the best players, against the best clubs, respecting the well-balanced finances at the club?' To me, the only solution was creating a team of young players, little by little, to lead them to high level."

He also pointed the finger at teams like Real and Manchester City for spending huge money on their sides.

"That is not idealism," he said.

"We are very close to making it in the Champions League with a very young team, respecting a well-balanced budget, facing clubs that do not necessarily respect that. Playing when you lose €150million, to me it is cheating."

Wenger also revealed why he had not bought either Xabi Alonso or Gareth Barry in the summer.

"I have been criticised for not hiring Xabi Alonso or Gareth Barry. But if I signed them, I would have killed Song, Diaby and Denilson," he insisted.

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