Philippe Senderos explains how Arsene Wenger persuaded him to join Arsenal over Man Utd

Arsenal's Philippe Senderos
Senderos was highly rated at 18 (Picture: Getty)

Former Arsenal defender Philippe Senderos has revealed Arsene Wenger launched a charm offensive to persuade him to reject a move to Manchester United and join the Gunners.

As an 18-year-old plying his trade at Swiss side Servette, the centre-back had the world at his feet, attracting interest from top Premier League clubs, as well as Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.

Senderos recalls meeting with multiple managers who all tried to convince him to join their respective clubs, but Wenger’s philosophical approach won him over, and when he saw the Frenchman’s team play, he was immediately ‘bewitched’.

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In an Instagram Q&A with Italian journalist Nicolo Schira, the former Switzerland international said: ‘I was 18 and Real Madrid and Manchester United had also looked for me.

‘I went to Munich twice to speak with Bayern, [Ottmar] Hitzfeld wanted me, but I found a special feeling with Arsene Wenger.

‘He and Gerard Houllier came to Geneva to convince me. Wenger talked to me about football and not about money, he had a plan for me.

‘Then I went to see a game at Highbury, and I was bewitched. That’s why I chose Arsenal.

‘At first he [Wenger] was very close to me, giving me a lot of advice. He immediately made me feel like an important player, even though I was 18.’

ST. ALBANS, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Arsene Wenger the Arsenal manager chats to Philippe Senderos of Arsenal dung an Arsenal training session on July 31, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Wenger convinced Senderos of a move to Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

After signing for Arsenal in 2003, Senderos suffered multiple injuries, forcing him to miss the entirety of the Gunners’ historic ‘Invincibles’ season.

The defender never made more than 20 league appearances in one season for the Gunners, and after loan moves to AC Milan and Everton, ended up leaving the club permanently in 2010.

Senderos backs Mikel Arteta to take the current Arsenal team forward, suggesting top centre-backs Kalidou Koulibaly of Napoli or Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti would help get the Gunners back to the top.

He added: ‘Arteta knows the environment well and can bring Arsenal back to the top.

‘After Wenger’s farewell it was not easy to start again.

‘With Emery things did not go well, but Mikel can be the right man. I want to see again the Gunners above: a great defender is needed.

‘I know they are interested in [Kalidou] Koulibaly and [Samuel] Umtiti: I would take one of the two to return to the top. The favourite? I say KK.’

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