Jose Mourinho should never become Arsenal manager following his relationship with Arsene Wenger (Image: GETTY)
Jose Mourinho has been linked with replacing Unai Emery in the hot-seat at Arsenal – but his relationship with the Gunners’ greatest ever manager means this should never become reality.
Throughout Mourinho’s three spells as a manager in England, it is fair to say he and Arsene Wenger never saw eye to eye.
And who can blame them? Mourinho arrived in the Premier League in the summer of 2004 when Arsenal’s Invincibles had just won the title by going the whole campaign unbeaten. But from then on, Arsenal’s joint dominance with Manchester United was over and there was a third force in English football – Chelsea.
Mourinho led Chelsea to not only their first league title for 50 years in his first season in charge but they also finished an impressive 12 points above Wenger’s defending champions following a huge cash injection from owner Roman Abramovich.
As Chelsea’s transfer outlay continued to rise, Arsenal’s decreased as they had to start paying off their new 60,000-seater stadium.
Was there jealousy from Wenger? Certainly not in terms of the style of football Chelsea were playing. Speaking of Mourinho’s Blues in 2005, the Frenchman said: “I know we live in a world where we have only winners and losers, but once a sport encourages teams who refuse to take the initiative, the sport is in danger.”
And that is where the real war of words started. Mourinho thought Wenger had an obsession with his club, responding: “Wenger has a real problem with us and I think he is what you call in England a voyeur. He is someone who likes to watch other people.
“There are some guys who, when they are at home, have this big telescope to look into the homes of other people and see what is happening. Wenger must be one of them. It is a sickness.”
Wenger said Mourinho was “out of order with his comments”, but the Portuguese did not back down.
Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea beat Arsenal to the Premier League title in the Portuguese’s first season (Image: GETTY)
“At Stamford Bridge, we have a file of quotes from Mr Wenger about Chelsea football club in the last 12 months,” Mourinho said.
“It is not a file of five pages. It is a file of 120 pages.”
Jose Mourinho was sacked by Chelsea in 2007 but despite moving to Italy to manage Inter Milan, he would still aim digs at his old rival.
“I’m not the person to be in a club three or four years without winning a trophy,” he said in November 2008.
“Maybe Wenger should explain to Arsenal supporters how he cannot win a single little trophy since 2005.”
But it was his return to Chelsea in 2014 that sparked perhaps the most famous and arguably most disrespectful comment he has made towards Wenger.
In this country, only one manager is not under pressure
Wenger had claimed title rivals were afraid of failure, which Mourinho responded: “Am I afraid of failure? He is a specialist in failure. I’m not.
“So if one supposes he’s right and I’m afraid of failure, it’s because I don’t fail many times. So maybe he’s right. I’m not used to failing. But the reality is he’s a specialist because, eight years without a piece of silverware, that’s failure.”
Mourinho won the title for a third time at Chelsea the season after to rub more salt in Wenger’s wounds.
He then claimed Wenger got an easier ride than any other manager in England, from both the FA and their clubs.
“In this country, only one manager is not under pressure,” he said.
Jose Mourinho called Arsene Wenger a “specialist in failure” in 2014 (Image: GETTY)
“Every other manager is. We cannot be below par. We have to meet the objectives. There is one outside that list, but good for him. You know who.
“The one who can speak about the referees before the game, after the game, can push people in the technical area, can moan, can cry in the morning, in the afternoon, nothing happens. He cannot achieve, keep his job, still be the king.”
When appointed Manchester United boss in 2016, Mourinho once again aimed a not-so-subtle dig at Wenger.
“There are some managers, the last time they won a title was 10 years ago, the last time I won was a year ago,” he said.
“I feel I have to prove – not to the others – to myself. I will never be able to work without success. That’s my nature. If I have something to prove, imagine the others. To finish fourth is not the aim.”
Mourinho did pay tribute to Wenger upon his exit from Arsenal in 2018 and stated he hoped he did not retire from the game. But those comments did not wash with the majority of Arsenal fans.
Wenger may have been hounded out of the Emirates by some supporters towards the end of his time there, but there will not be many of them who do not respect what he did for their club and see him as their greatest ever manager.
Three League titles and seven FA Cups aside, Wenger’s legacy will live on in the stadium he built and the class he transmitted during his 22 years in north London.
Wenger himself would not want Mourinho to manage the club he now supports and the majority of fans would share that belief.
Wenger was not innocent in his feud with Mourinho and gave as good as he got – Chelsea fans would equally not want the Frenchman to manage their club.
But with regards to Arsenal, if Mourinho did replace Emery it would only take a couple of bad results for the crowd to turn and make the Emirates an even more toxic place than it already is.
Chants of ‘F*** off Mourinho’ come to mind.
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