In fact, Wenger even stated he had told his own staff that Ferguson would retire this year. However, Ferguson stated, upon the announcement of his retirement last week, that he made his decision at Christmas.
"I was not surprised and I told my staff a long time ago that I think it will be Alex Ferguson's last year. I detected a few signs through the season – there was already one of them before the season started, that it could be his final year."
Wenger was then asked by a reporter if Ferguson's retirement was discussed during the negotiations over the sale of Van Persie to which he responded:
“I wouldn't like to come back on that. I will let you know one day."
This is inconsistent with Ferguson’s own revelations on the timeframe of his decision to retire, which he stated had been made at Christmas due to his familiar responsibilities.
It’s hard to comprehend that members of Ferguson’s own family were not aware of his imminent plans yet a rival manager was entrusted with such classified information. The pair used to be foes but it seems as time has gone on their has been a mutual respect and even friendship fostered between the two longest serving managers in the Premier League.
I suppose we’ll have to wait for either one of them to write a memoir to find out the truth of the matter – or at least until the Frenchman retires himself. If true, the old Arsenal adage of ‘Wenger knows’ certainly takes on a whole new meaning.
image: © wonker