Arsene Wenger insists another arduous summer at the Arsenal helm has not pushed him closer to retirement and is indeed energised by the prospect of building another great team.
The Frenchman was powerless to prevent the loss of Robin van Persie to Manchester United during the close season and admitted it was “strange” to see his captain opening his goalscoring account for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side with a fabulous volley in last weekend’s 3-2 win over Fulham.
With Alex Song also having departed last month, Wenger could be forgiven for thinking he faces a folorn task in restoring Arsenal to his former glories, but the 62-year-old remains adamant that thoughts of retirement remain far from his thoughts.
“There are still miles in my legs,” he said ahead of Sunday’s meeting with Liverpool at Anfield.
“In life it is like you are going on a mission and it does not cross my mind to finish. You work as long as you can.”
Despite the summer purchases of proven internationals Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud, Arsenal have begun the new season sluggishly with consecutive goalless draws against Sunderland and Stoke City.
In contrast to his new-look side, however, Wenger feels motivated by the prospect of building a new squad capable of ending the club’s well documented seven-year wait for a trophy, even if the task has made more difficult with last season’s top goalscorer now in the colours of a direct rival.
“Yes, I have to rebuild – but to rebuild is exciting,” said Wenger. “I would have preferred to have kept Van Persie though. There are not 100 players in the world who can score 30 goals in the Premier League.
“It was a fantastic goal he scored. The quality of the finish was tremendous, but it was a strange feeling for me... he had the wrong shirt on!”