Arsene Wenger has admitted to “regret and guilt” at Arsenal not beating Leicester to last season’s Premier League title.
Claudio Ranieri’s side completed a remarkable triumph, leaving Wenger and his side second and still without a league title since 2004.
Wenger expects this season to be the most competitive ever, with leading clubs assembling what he termed a “world championship of managers”.
“Who expected Leicester to be champion last season? Nobody,” Wenger said.
“So you would say today to take into account seven or eight teams who can win it. There is always a surprising team, and then you have six or seven big clubs who have the ambition to win it.
“All the big clubs experienced last season a regret and a feeling of guilt but that would take something away from Leicester, who had an exceptional season.
“When you lose only three games in a season in a difficult league like that, you are a fantastic champion.
“(There is) guilt because you would not have predicted Leicester win the league, so all the other teams would say ‘We should have come in front of Leicester’.
“You would understand you could lose against City, United, Liverpool or Tottenham – not Tottenham! – the other big clubs, but you should beat Leicester. But they had an exceptional season and you have to congratulate them.”
— Premier League (@premierleague) August 10, 2016
The long-serving Arsenal boss will be joined in the top flight this season by his old rival Jose Mourinho, back in work at Manchester United, as well as Pep Guardiola at Manchester City and Antonio Conte at Chelsea.
Wenger said on Sky Sports News: “It’s a very exciting season, there are so many ambitions out there. It’s a little bit of a world championship of managers.
“Let’s not be naive, the economical power of the Premier League attracts the best players and the best managers. If you want quality people, you have to pay the amount of money.
“Today the Premier League is the most powerful as well as the most attractive and maybe the most popular in the world. Every manager thinks today, ‘If I want to be recognised as a top manager, I have to go through the Premier League’.”