• Premier League

Wenger had 'detected signs' Fergie would retire

ESPN staff
May 13, 2013
Arsene Wenger says he sensed Sir Alex Ferguson was heading for retirement © PA Photos

Arsene Wenger says he had "detected signs" that Sir Alex Ferguson would retire this season, and that he was not surprised by the Manchester United manager's decision.

The Arsenal boss also spoke warmly of his old rival and said that the news is somewhat "sad" but that the big challenge now is for Ferguson to live a life as fulfilling as his Old Trafford career.

"I was not surprised and I told my staff a long time ago I think that it will be Alex Ferguson's last year," Wenger said. "So I was not completely surprised. I detected a few signs through the season, there was already one of them before the season started, that it could be his final year."

Wenger refused to say whether he picked up any of those hints in the negotiations for Robin van Persie, which marked some a departure for transfer policy from United and indicated Ferguson's desire to immediately win the title back.

"I will let you know one day!," the Arsenal boss laughed. "You have to respect his decision. It is sad because it is the end of a remarkable career. He got a lot of praise that he deserves.

"There is a double challenge now, the first is for Manchester United to replace a guy of that stature, and the second challenge for Alex Ferguson to have a life as passionate and as interesting as the life he had until now. But you have to respect the decision.

"He is luckier than me because he likes horses, he likes golf, so he can certainly have an interesting life again. But of course when you have been such a long time involved in every [game]… our job is always looking forward to the next game, so you are always motivated by that. At the start it is difficult to miss that."

With Wenger now set to be the longest-serving manager in the Premier League next season, he expressed gratitude to Arsenal for their "faith" in him.

He noted: "It is not a title at all. I have the luck to be at this club for a long time because I have the faith of my directors and I am grateful for that. I try to pay that faith back by having complete commitment and dedication and to give my best of course."

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