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I Had Doubts Over My Future at Arsenal – Arsene Wenger Admits

Arsene Wenger says he “hesitated” over signing a new contract with Arsenal last season because he doubted whether he was “capable of leading the club”.

Wenger, who later agreed to a two-year deal in May, a month before his old contract expired, said this on French TV programme Telefoot.

According to the Frenchman, there were “personal reasons” behind the decision to delay extending his 21-year reign at the Gunners.

“I’ve been there for so long that you always wonder, can you still take the team to the next level?”, he queried.

Arsenal finished fifth in the Premier League last season – the first time they have finished outside the top four since Wenger joined in 1996 – before beating Chelsea to win the FA Cup.

Wenger’s side began their new league campaign with a 4-3 victory at home to Leicester, before losing 1-0 at Stoke and 4-0 at Liverpool.

“I’ve been at Arsenal many years and last season we struggled a lot,” the 67-year-old Frenchman said.

“This year we won our first game, we weren’t as good in the second match and then we had a catastrophic performance.

“But now we have to recover and, as always in a time of crisis, you have to win your next game.”
Deadline deal

When asked why Arsenal’s transfer deadline-day bid for 21-year-old Monaco midfielder Thomas Lemar in a fee in the region of £90m was not successful after the deal was reportedly agreed, Wenger revealed the player “decided to stay at Monaco”.

Asked if he planned to return with another attempt to sign the France international, Wenger said: “Yes. I think he’s a player who has great quality.”

He also said he had wanted to sign France striker Kylian Mbappe, who joined Paris St-Germain on loan before a permanent 180m euro transfer.

“Well, 180m is a bit too high for us,” said Wenger, who described the 18-year-old as “the next Pele”.

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