Arsene Wenger: Dedication to Arsenal made me reject Manchester United

The Frenchman was then Chairman Martin Edwards' first choice to replace Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford.

Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger was Martin Edwards' number one choice to replace Ferguson in 2002 Reuters

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hinted that he turned down an approach to succeed Alex Ferguson as Manchester United manager, amid suggestions he met with Old Trafford chiefs over the role 15 years ago, as reported by the Guardian.

Former United chairman Martin Edwards is set to reveal in an upcoming book that Wenger was United's first choice candidate to take over when Ferguson decided to retire as manager in 2002.

Also read: Thomas Muller 'considered' Manchester United move, open for future Bayern Munich exit

Arsene Wenger says his dedication to Arsenal's values persuaded him to reject an offer from Manchester United in 2001 and continue his career at the north London club, according to the Sun.

"You should ask him," Wenger said of Edwards after the latter claimed in his new autobiography that the pair met in London to discuss a move, as per the Independent.

When asked whether he was tempted when United came calling, he offer this response: "No because I was always happy here. I love the values of this club."

"Maybe one day I will get all the contacts I had during my stay at Arsenal and it will make a few chapters, but you should ask Martin Edwards.

"Why do I stay here? I love the values of this club. For me, a club is about values first and as well because I know what has changed. One day it would be a good chat to have with the press to look at the evolution.

"A lot has changed, but when I came here this club was about values that I love in sport and that's why I'm still in the competition.

"So I will always question myself. Yes, of course Man United is attractive, but am I happy here? The answer is yes."

In the end, Ferguson changed his mind and signed a new deal before finally leaving the club in 2013, but Edwards confirms he had meetings with Wenger and suggested there was some interest from the Frenchman in taking over at Old Trafford.

"Our first choice was Arsene," Edwards said in his forthcoming book Red Glory: Manchester United and Me.

"We thought he was the best candidate to replace Alex. Certainly he was my number one choice.

"So we made our approach and Wenger did show a little bit of interest, enough to want to meet (chief executive) Peter Kenyon and me at his house in London to listen to what we had to say."