Arsene Wenger will have “no shortage of offers” to consider once he steps down as Arsenal manager, says David Dein, the man who appointed him in 1996.
After 22 years at the helm in north London, the long-serving Frenchman has revealed that he will be walking away at the end of the current campaign.
An iconic reign will live long in the memory, with Wenger having revolutionised both the Gunners and English football during his time in the Premier League.
He is now 68 years of age and facing accusations of being a fading force, but Dein claims the services of a coach proven at the very highest level are already attracting interest.
The former Arsenal vice-chairman told Sky Sports of Wenger’s impending departure: “It's going to be tough initially.
“As I found myself, it's a way of life. He will feel that [unfinished business]. He's the first one at the club, the last one to leave. It will be difficult.
“It is rather like a bereavement and the various stages, the first one is denial and finally you get to acceptance and you move on. He has to have a good holiday and decide what he wants to do next.
“He's going to be 69 in October, but he keeps himself extraordinarily fit. He is the same weight as when I met him, 75 kilos. He keeps himself fit.
“He's got a very active mind, such a knowledge of the game. Over the last few years, he has been approached by some of the biggest clubs in the world, Real Madrid, Paris St-Germain, the national team wanted him at one stage.
“He will have no shortage of offers. I personally had calls from various people yesterday, saying, can I speak to him? He won't be short of offers from clubs. The question is will he want to do it anymore. It's getting more and more difficult. It's a bit of a pressure cooker.”
Dein admits Wenger will go down as “the greatest Arsenal manager ever”, but concedes a parting of ways has been coming for some time – with serious consideration given to stepping aside in 2017 before committing to a new two-year contract.
He added: “It's been coming. At the end of last season I was discussing with him, 'Arsene, what do you want to do?' Are you going to stay? Are you going to leave? He was a bit undecided.
“In the end, I said, 'Arsene, do you know what your problem is? He said, 'What's that?' I said, 'You love the club too much.' He's so attached to it. So loyal, so dedicated. He felt responsible for the players coming through.
“That was an option for him, undoubtedly. I was weighing up, 'If you leave now, this is the situation. If you go on, you roll the dice another year or two, what's going to happen?
“He made his own mind up and decided to stay. I felt the last couple of weeks, it has been getting more difficult for him, particularly with the team results. I thought that, on a personal level, it was unlikely that he was going to stay after the end of the season.”