Arsene Wenger’s former right-hand man, Pat Rice, thinks the Frenchman is so respected in the world of football that the likes of FIFA and UEFA could knock his door when he steps down as Arsenal manager in the summer.
Rice, whose connection with the Gunners dates back to 1967, became Wenger’s assistant when he arrived from Monaco in 1996 and retained the role until 2012 when Steve Bould took over.
Having worked with Wenger at close hand for 16 years, there are few who know the 68-year-old better or rate him higher.
“In my eyes he is the best Arsenal manager there has ever been,” Rice told Sky Sports.
“Having seen the way he works and the way he treats people, everybody is treated with respect. He always looked after his staff, he is just an incredible manager.
“Everything that he goes in to is researched. When he came to the club all the training schedules were down to the finest minute.
“He changed the food that the players had, he changed the way they were drinking. Cokes and orange and all that stuff went out of the window.
“The foresight that he had was just second to none and he changed the way of people’s thinking about football in England, there’s absolutely no doubt about that.”
Rice went on to suggest that Wenger will have been very hurt by the manner in which he’s been eased out at the Emirates, although he accepts that it’s hardly surprising given the state of the modern game.
“I think he would feel very hurt about the reaction he was getting but at the end of the day we all know we are in a business where it can happen to anybody,” he noted.
“It is not the first time it has happened to a football manager but when you think what he has done for our great club it is a shame that it had to end this way.
“I’m just hoping that for the last home game of the season [against Burnley] everybody shows their appreciation to a wonderful man and a tremendous manager.”
As for what the future holds for his former boss, Rice predicts a raft of offers.
“I think he’s so well respected if he wants to be a manager at another club,” he added.
“I know he’s very well respected at UEFA and FIFA and I would not be surprised if he had an opportunity to go and join one of those.
“Football is his love. When I was working there you would go in the next day and talk about what film or comedy show you watched the previous night, or if you’d been out in the West End.
“He would come in and ask if anyone had seen Juventus or Roma or Barcelona v Malaga.”