‘Don’t be obsessed by money,’ Wenger tells Arsenal stars
'We have great values at the club, and we try to transform what we do on the pitch into art' - Gunners boss outlines his football philosophy after disappointing 1-0 defeat at Stoke
25 August, 2017 — By Steve Barnett
Arsene Wenger: ‘I try to get the players to get their priorities right. Don’t be obsessed by money. Focus on the quality of your performance’
IT might not feel like it, following Saturday’s 1-0 defeat away at Stoke, but Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has revealed his main ethos as a manager is to help his players “transform what they do on the pitch into art”.
The 67-year-old says that football is “my religion”, and, as he tries to help negotiate contracts with key players including Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wenger insists that footballers shouldn’t be “obsessed with money”.
“I try to combine the values I think are important in a football team, because it’s a team sport, and giving something to your team makes you better,” he said.
“It’s not easy to understand when you’re 20, because you’re more obsessed by your own individual performance, by your ego and by your desire to be the star. So I try to convince my players that the expression of the team makes everyone individually stronger.
“We have great values at the club, and we try to transform what we do on the pitch into art.
“We want to give every fan who wakes up on the morning of a match the opportunity to think, ‘Maybe I can have a great experience today by watching my football team’.
“It’s about giving them something more, something special, that’s beautiful to watch. I must say, it’s not easy, but as a football club you need to at least have this ambition.”
Reflecting on his upbringing in France, Wenger added: “I grew up in a little village, near the local football club, and my life was dominated by two things: I had to go to church and, of course, I heard only about football every day.
“And I understood very quickly, watching the team, that you need religion to win football games. So I decided to do something about it, and make sure that my religion was football. And that hasn’t changed.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain is reportedly set to meet Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis within the next 48 hours to discuss his future. The Arsenal boss gave an insight into what he’ll be telling the Ox from across the table.
“Money is the consequence of the quality of your performances – or at least it should be,” Wenger said. “I try to get the players to get their priorities right. Don’t be obsessed by money. Focus on the quality of your performance.
“We live in a privileged sport where we have a lot of money, and I don’t know anybody who performs well who is not what we call rich.”