Arsene Wenger was Fulham's first choice to replace Slavisa Jokanovic as manager, but the Frenchman turned down the chance to make a sensational Premier League return.
Fulham sacked Slavisa Jokanovic on Wednesday morning, having won just one of their first 12 Premier League matches this season to leave them bottom of the league table.
Arsene Wenger reportedly turned down the manager's role at Fulham before Claudio Ranieri was appointed... pic.twitter.com/Yxon0MNWoT— AFTV (@AFTVMedia) November 14, 2018
Former Chelsea and Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri was immediately announced as Jokanovic's replacement, with Fulham's official statement claiming that owner Shahid Khan '
The Telegraph has now revealed that Wenger turned down the opportunity to discuss the role before Ranieri was approached.
Wenger stayed true to his vow that he would not manage another Premier League club, having left Arsenal at the end of last season after 22 years in charge.
"Making a change without having the right answer or succession plan was not an option, so having someone of Claudio’s calibre ready to accept our challenge was comforting but, most of all, essential." - Shahid Khan pic.twitter.com/N9VQQtEMS4— Fulham Football Club (@FulhamFC) November 14, 2018
The Gunners legend has been clear that he is not retired from football and is waiting for the right opportunity to come up for him to make a return to management.
Khan has a good relationship with Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke, who would have given Wenger a glowing reference had he agreed to discuss the role.
Wenger has been tipped to take over at Bayern Munich in the near future if their current struggles continue. The German champions have won just two of their last seven Bundesliga matches and sit fifth in the table, seven points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund.
Manager Niko Kovac is coming under increased scrutiny and Wenger will be watching with interest to see if the job becomes available in the weeks ahead.