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Monaco, Wenger, Nagoya and...Deschamps?

22 Sep 2005(Thu)

September 21 -- A few years ago, in 1994 to be precise, I was on an assignment in the United Arab Emirates.

I was walking to my seat in the Press Box at Abu Dhabi when I saw a familiar face in the stands.

At first I couldn't put a name to the face, so asked a colleague from the Asian Football Confederation who the distinguished European gentleman was in the stands.

When he said the name, instantly I recalled a recent article and photograph in World Soccer magazine.

It was Arsene Wenger.

He had just parted company with Monaco after seven years, and was in the UAE to conduct a coaching course on behalf of FIFA.

The next stop on his journey was Japan. He asked me about the J.League and said he knew the Sanfrecce coach, Baxter. But he never told me he was going for a meeting with Nagoya Grampus Eight! The rest is history.

The reason why I recall this secene is two-fold.

First, Grampus need a new manager after Nelsinho was fired on Sunday.

Second, Monaco's latest coach, Didier Deschamps, resigned on Monday.

Any connection there?

Maybe. Maybe not.

You never know in football. I am sure Deschamps will receive many offers from Europe, but, like Wenger before him, perhaps he would like a change of scenery.

During a speech at the 1998 World Cup in France, Wenger spoke of how the J.League had refreshed him. He said he was disillusioned with France, because it was the time when the Marseille match-fixing scandal was rife, and his stint in Japan had given him hope and optimism. Arsenal reaped the benefits, and still are doing.

Wenger: Monaco to Nagoya to Highbury.

Deschamps: Monaco to Nagoya? Is there a chance?

Nagoya have the money to hire Deschamps, that's for sure. Also, they are desperate, and I mean desperate with a capital "D", for a coach who can turn things around. Apart from two Emperor's Cups, Nagoya have not won any J.League honour, meaning stage championship or Nabisco Cup, although Wenger took them close.

Perhaps I am putting two and two together here and coming up with 10!

But it's worth a thought, as I am sure Wenger would recommend Deschamps to move to Japan to recharge his batteries, if that's what he needs.


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