Arsene Wenger has reiterated it is his love for Arsenal which has stopped him taking the managerial job at Paris St Germain despite continued interest from the French club’s owners.
The 66-year-old takes his Arsenal side to face PSG in their opening Champions League Group A fixture of the season on Tuesday night as he closes in on 20 years in charge of the Gunners.
October will mark Wenger’s managerial milestone but in recent years he has become a target for PSG and their wealthy backers, Qatari Sports Investments.
According to L’Equipe, they have tried three times to recruit Wenger but were knocked back in 2011, 2013 and 2014 as he opted to remain at the Emirates Stadium – despite enduring a decade-long run without silverware in recent times.
And Wenger insists it is his passion for Arsenal which has kept him in north London rather than take him back to his homeland.
Asked why he had not said yes to any of PSG’s overtures, he replied: “Because I love where I am.
“I know well the owners (of PSG), but I feel always I remained loyal to Arsenal Football Club because I think it’s a club that has the qualities I love. And, that’s why.
“I like to come to Paris. It’s a city I love, it’s my country, a country I love. PSG are a good test for us. They’re a team who are, in France, the team above everyone else.
“In France they always produce good football teams and players, so it’s exciting to come to this city and compare to where we are this season compared to everyone else.”
Current PSG boss Unai Emery has seen his start to life at the club begin with a stutter and the Ligue 1 champions sit seventh after taking one point from their last two outings.
The former Sevilla coach, who delivered three successive Europa League titles at Sevilla before leaving in the summer, declared his admiration for Wenger ahead of the meeting on Tuesday night.
And despite PSG’s relatively poor start to the season, Wenger is expecting a tough test as he looks to guide Arsenal into the last 16 of the Champions League for the 17th consecutive season.
“I think PSG were missing a number of players (in recent games),” he said.
“They had certain players who joined up a bit later, like us. Similar problems to the ones we face, but we’ll see.
“I think they missed a number of players at the back. They were at the same hotel as us in Los Angeles and Thiago Silva got injured there. He’s an important player for them.
“But they’re clearly superior in the domestic league, so I expect a slightly different PSG in the Champions League.”