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Tuesday, 30 April, 2002, 09:27 GMT 10:27 UK
Profile: Arsene Wenger
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
Wenger has led Arsenal to the brink of another double
BBC Sport Online outlines the career of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

Only Sir Alex Ferguson, Alan Curbishley, Peter Reid and George Burley have resided at the head of their Premiership club longer than Arsenal's Arsene Wenger.

This season Wenger has led the Gunners to the brink of a second league and cup double in his six years in charge.

The Frenchman further boosted the Highbury club after signing a new four-year deal last December to stay at the club.

Wenger became Arsenal boss in September 1996 following Bruce Rioch's sudden departure, arriving at Highbury after dragging relegation-threatened Nagoya Grampus Eight into second place in the Japanese League.

Back then, few in this country had heard of the Frenchman, but he soon made a big impression.

Before coming to north London, Wenger recommended signing two of his compatriots, including a certain Patrick Vieira.

Emmanuel Petit and Nicolas Anelka followed, with Dutchman Marc Overmars adding to the foreign influx.

The French connection

All three would later leave for big-figure transfer fees as Wenger showed his ability to work wonders in the transfer market.

And in Wenger's first season Arsenal mounted a serious title challenge for the first time since 1991.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
Wenger wants another FA Cup Final win

The following season Arsenal claimed both the Premiership crown and FA Cup.

But since then Arsenal have gained a reputation for finishing second - three times in a row in the Premiership, as well as losing in the Uefa and FA Cup finals.

With Petit, Anelka and Overmars leaving, Wenger has again looked to France for replacements.

Thierry Henry proved a sensational purchase, and Sylvain Wiltord and Robert Pires arrived to add to the French connection.

Born in Strasbourg, Wenger started his amateur playing career with Mutzig in the French Third Division as a sweeper-defender.

Big in Japan

Known as the Professor, he graduated in 1974 with a degree in economics from Strasbourg University.

He turned professional with Strasbourg in 1978 and won the French title a year after his debut.

In 1981, he obtained the manager's diploma in Paris and was made youth team coach at Strasbourg.

After a brief spell as assistant coach with Cannes, he was appointed coach of Nancy two years later, but suffered relegation in his opening season.

His reputation took off after being made manager at Monaco in 1987.

Wenger's success at the club began with the French Championship in 1988 and he was offered jobs with the French national team and Bayern Munich in 1994.

He was sacked just weeks after committing his future to the club, before his move to Japan in 1995 and then onto London 18 months later.

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