Arsene Wenger Reportedly Rejected Fulham Amid Bayern Munich Rumours

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 09:  Former Arsenal Manager, Arsene Wenger, speaks after receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award during the Leaders Sport Awards at the Natural History Museum on October 9, 2018 in London, England.  (Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images for Leaders)
Henry Browne/Getty Images

Arsene Wenger reportedly "politely declined" the chance to speak to Fulham about the Cottagers' managerial vacancy before the Premier League side eventually replaced fired Slavisa Jokanovic with Claudio Ranieri.

Fulham made an approach to former Arsenal boss Wenger before confirming Ranieri on Wednesday, according to Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph. It's said the 69-year-old adhered to a "vow not to manager another Premier League club after leaving Arsenal."

Law also noted how Wenger, who stepped down from the Gunners in May, would prefer a move abroad, with "Bayern Munich likely to be a job that would interest the Frenchman if it became available."

Law noted how the relationship between Fulham owner Shahid Khan and Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke, a keen admirer of Wenger, could have helped facilitate a quick return to management for the three-time Premier League winner.

Fulham were unable to convince Wenger (R) before turning to former Leicester City boss Ranieri.
Fulham were unable to convince Wenger (R) before turning to former Leicester City boss Ranieri.Matt Dunham/Associated Press

However, Wenger has maintained his stance on honouring his tenure with the Gunners by looking elsewhere for a job. Wenger described the idea of him managing another English club as "difficult" and likely "not well accepted" last month.

There has been no shortage of links between Wenger and big clubs recently. He was said to be in talks with AC Milan earlier this month, reports Wenger later dubbed "fake news".

Bayern have also featured in those rumours, with German publication Bild (h/t Joshua Jones of The Sun) naming the man who also won seven FA Cups with Arsenal as one of three names, including ex-Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane, Die Roten were considering to replace Niko Kovac back in October.

Wenger's name could be mentioned again in connection with the Bayern job after things haven't gone to plan for Kovac since. He oversaw Bayern's 3-2 defeat to rivals Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker recently.

Wenger continues to be linked with Bayern Munich, where Kovac is struggling.
Wenger continues to be linked with Bayern Munich, where Kovac is struggling.CHRISTOF STACHE/Getty Images

The loss has left Die Roten fifth and seven points off the pace in the Bundesliga.

Wenger would surely engineer a turnaround at the Allianz Arena, provided he could work with some of the entrenched veterans in the squad, notably 35-year-old Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, 34.

An affinity between Wenger and Bayern has long existed, with chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge admitting in 2017 how the club tried to sign Wenger from AS Monaco during the 1990s, but he opted instead to move to Japan and take over at Grampus Eight.

Wenger moved to Arsenal in late 1996 and won a league and FA Cup double less than two years later. He repeated the feat in 2002 and then won the title without losing a game during the 2003/04 season.

Wenger struggled to overcome Bayern in the Champions League, but he has been linked with the club in the past.
Wenger struggled to overcome Bayern in the Champions League, but he has been linked with the club in the past.IAN KINGTON/Getty Images

A period of nine years without a trophy followed after Wenger lifted a fourth FA Cup in 2005. He won the same trophy three more times before stepping aside to be replaced by Unai Emery earlier this year.

In between, Wenger had many run-ins with Bayern. His Arsenal teams were eliminated by the same opposition in the Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League three times in five seasons, including an infamous 10-2 aggregate defeat over two legs in 2017.  

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