FORMER Arsenal chief David Dein is trying to talk “bruised” Arsene Wenger into coming back to the club to see his statue unveiled.
The creation of an artistic tribute to ex-manager Wenger is at an advanced stage.
But Dein, who used to be Gunners vice-chairman, claims the Frenchman is yet to give the green light to a ceremony because he is still upset by the way he was forced out in 2018.
Dein told fans at an Arsenal Supporters’ Trust event: “Rather like myself, he is bruised. I don’t think he was treated well.
“I think he is still smarting from that. He was never really given the opportunity to discuss an alternative role at the club.
“That caused friction. There was also interference from board members in what he was doing.
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“He had a difficult time. I do hope that he does come back.
“It’s no secret, there is a statue waiting for him to be unveiled. I hope he does decide to do that. For what he delivered to the club, he certainly deserves it.
“I know he is in two minds. He hasn’t agreed to do it yet. I’m pushing him to try and encourage him that he should.
“It ought to be there, a permanent memory to what he delivered to the club.”
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Wenger, who turned 73 on Saturday, won three Prem titles, a record seven FA Cups and was in charge of the famous Invincibles during his 22 years at the club.
Arsenal are in direct contact with the Frenchman, now Fifa’s head of global football development, about unveiling the statue some time next year.
And Dein insists that he has nothing against owner Stan Kroenke and son Josh, and that he is enjoying the club’s current “renaissance”.
He revealed how Edu, Arsenal’s current technical director, had a sticky start with the club.
The former Gunners midfielder was supposed to join from Brazilian club Corinthians in the summer of 2000.
Dein said: “He was an unusual transfer. I got a call at 3am from the immigration officer at Terminal 3, saying, ‘Mr Dein, we’ve got one of your players here’.
“I said, ‘What’s the problem?’.
“‘Well, his passport is not really good. We’re going to have to send him back home.’”
Edu was entitled to a European passport through his Portuguese and Italian ancestry but the number on the document was out of sequence, revealing it to be a fake.
Dein said: “The agent had tried to fast-track it.
“I spoke to Arsene straight away and said, ‘What do you want to do? It could take six to nine months’. Arsene said, ‘No, we’ll definitely sign him’.
“So I said to Edu at the time, ‘Don’t worry, go back, we’ll get your papers in order, and you will be welcome whenever you come in’.”
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Edu was held overnight at Heathrow but finally signed in January 2001.
He was part of the 2002 Double-winning squad and the famous Invincibles of 2003-4.
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