Arsene Wenger returns to Arsenal for the first time since exit

Contributors: James McNicholas, David Ornstein and Amy Lawrence

Arsene Wenger has returned to the Emirates Stadium for the first time since departing as Arsenal manager in 2018.

Wenger, 73, is in the crowd to watch Arsenal’s Premier League match against West Ham United on Boxing Day.

Wenger, who managed Arsenal from 1996 to 2018, had previously said he had no plans to watch his old side in action.

But last season current manager Mikel Arteta said he would like to welcome the Frenchman back to north London.

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Arteta said: “Hopefully we can bring him close because I think he would have a great time just seeing the environment that he can create around him when he’s around this place.

“That is because of the respect, admiration and love that everybody at the club has for what he’s done and for what he represents as a person in this club.”

Wenger departed Arsenal at the end of the 2017-18 season, ending a 22-year reign as manager.

He left the club a year before his latest contract was due to expire.

Since leaving Arsenal he has worked for FIFA and is currently the governing body’s chief of global football development.

Arsenal are currently flying high in the Premier League and could extend their lead at the top of the table to seven points with a victory tonight.

Arsenal won the FA Cup under Arteta in 2020 but have not won a league title since Wenger left the club.

Wenger steered Arsenal to domestic glory in 1997–98, 2001–02, 2003–04. The third of those successes was the most famous, with Arsenal winning the title without suffering a single defeat.

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(Photo: Getty Images)

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