What Emmanuel Macron should learn from Arsene Wenger

Both Arsene Wenger and Emmanuel Macron were not taken seriously before being appointed their huge roles, but the similarities don't stop there. Credit: PA

The individual who should make a forensic study of how Wenger’s career ended in failure is Emmanuel Macron.

Because the French president and the jumped-before-pushed Arsenal supremo have much in common, and not just in their overweening self-assurance, or that even weeks before they became towering figures in their worlds few took them seriously.

With silken tongue and suave persuasion, they revolutionised English football and French politics respectively - almost beyond recognition.

Whether it was Wenger’s modernisation of player fitness regimes, or Macron’s sledgehammer to trade union vested interests and archaic working practices, they are demolishers of the status quo.

And in their creative destruction they made and make the establishment look clodhopping and anachronistic.

Wenger changed English football when he arrived at Arsenal almost 22 years ago. Credit: PA

They are both liberal internationalists, in a climate of resurgent nationalism.

And they both believe in sustainable economics, of setting sustainable budgets - in the teeth of populist hostility, at an Arsenal where the fans always attacked Wenger for not paying more to and for players, and in a France where the people regard a featherbedded welfare state as their god-given right.

Wenger endured a decade of magnificent spectacular success and a subsequent decade of mediocrity.

Macron is still journeying on the rising arc of his personal meteor.

The Arsenal boss’s greatest disappointment perhaps? Never to win the top European trophy.

Emmanuel Macron was virtually unknown outside France before being elected to the presidency. Credit: PA

And what, as it happens, is Macron’s over-arching ambition? To restore faith in what Europe can achieve if its nations converge their governance and economic stewardship - and to be crowned as the emperor of that reinvigorated eurozone and EU.

If Wenger ultimately failed, it may be because he became the greatest fan of his own mythical image, he lost the subtlety and flexibility of thought that made him such a revolutionary.

Can Macron, cosseted as he is in the magnificence if those Parisian palaces, dodge a similar hubris?