Arsene Wenger has admitted to feeling Arsenal “slip away” from him towards the end of his iconic reign in north London.
The Frenchman spent 22 years with the Gunners, having been brought to the Premier League as a relative unknown in 1996.
By the time he departed in 2018, three Premier League title triumphs – including the ‘Invincibles’ campaign of 2003-04 – had been enjoyed, along with seven FA Cup successes and a Champions League final appearance.
Wenger revolutionised not only Arsenal but English football as a whole, with his tenure coinciding with dramatic changes in the global game.
The 70-year-old admits that the speed in which the game grew took much of the human touch away from club management, with the Gunners a different beast when he departed to the one he inherited.
Wenger told So Foot: “These days, the size of the clubs sometimes stops them from keeping the culture of performance.
“When I arrived at Arsenal, we were 80 people. When I left, there were 750, and when there’s 750 people in one organisation, each one thinks about saving themselves rather than improving.
“I think there’s a degree of reflection for me: how do you keep that desire to perform? Up to about 150 people, I think you can stay human. You know the name of the wife, of the kid of such and such.
“My regret at Arsenal is to have gone from human size to inhuman, with a larger administrative weight. Everything accelerated. Ten years ago, you’d see a guy who was good, you’d get him in, give him a tracksuit and he’d be a part of the team.
“That’s long gone. Now, if you want a new physio, you go through 300 applications. That’s how, at Arsenal, bit by bit, I felt the club slip away from me.”
Wenger also saw the support of a once loyal fan-base start to wane by the time he made the decision to walk away.
Arsenal had started to regress by 2018, as they slipped out of the Premier League’s top four, and righting those wrongs is proving to be a difficult task.
A demanding role at Emirates Stadium proved too much for Wenger’s successor Unai Emery, with the search currently on for another permanent manager to help lead the Gunners into a new era.