Arsène Wenger believes the treatment that Louis van Gaal is currently receiving at Manchester United is “disrespectful,” while he also questioned Pep Guardiola’s motives for announcing he will leave Bayern Munich at the end of the season.
Van Gaal is clinging to his job as the United manager after a dismal run of results and sustained criticism of his team’s style. United have refused to be drawn on the speculation surrounding him while in the background, they have been made aware that José Mourinho, who was sacked by Chelsea last Thursday, would be keen on coming to Old Trafford.
“I do not want to go in a world of speculation,” Wenger said, when asked about the link between United and Mourinho. “I, personally, have a huge respect for Louis van Gaal and I think what is going on there is disrespectful. This guy has worked for 30 years in football and has delivered unbelievable quality of work. I think it is a bit disrespectful what is going on there. Of course, he deserves more time.”
Wenger, predictably, refused to reveal his true feelings about the dismissal of Mourinho – the man with whom he has feuded for years and, frankly, cannot stand. “I think a lot has been made on that and I do not need to add anything,” Wenger said. “I do not want anyone to lose their job. My personal feelings on that front is that it is always sad when someone loses their job.”
Yet he was surprisingly candid about Guardiola’s decision to let it be known that he would be leaving Bayern. The Spaniard’s next port of call will be England and his availability next summer has made life uncomfortable, in particular, for Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester City.
Guardiola is close friends with City’s director of football, Txiki Begiristain, with whom he worked previously at Barcelona. United, too, would be interested in Guardiola, and so are Chelsea.
“I don’t like the fact that the managers come out so early for what they will do, because it’s not necessarily good for their own team, nor for the speculation about the managers who are going through a little bit of a difficult patch,” Wenger said.
Wenger would welcome Guardiola to the Premier League, as he wants it “to be the best league in the world”, but he sounded a note of caution about the ratio of British to foreign managers.
“We want to find the right balance,” Wenger said. “The Premier League wants to be the best in the world and you need 40 to 50% of foreign managers but, as well, give some chances to local managers, like [Eddie] Howe from Bournemouth, who now comes out.
“You do not want to kill that. You do not want the Premier League to become exclusively for foreign managers, even if I am one! It’s important to have the balance right. They bring different ideas but you want as well a local culture.
“I think Guardiola is, of course, a top-quality manager – nobody would dispute that. Not so much for what he has won already, because Bayern won before, Barcelona still wins today, but I think about the positive attitude he has towards the game and the fact he wants his team to play football in a positive way. I respect that highly.”