Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger forecasts European League and 16 team Premier League

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes there will be a European League and that the Premier League w

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes there will be a European League and that the Premier League will drop to 16 teams. PA - Credit: EMPICS Sport

Arsene Wenger has often been hailed as a visionary throughout his long career. As he approaches the final few days of his reign at Arsenal he looked into the future and has forecasted there will be a European League – sooner rather than later – as well as a 16 team Premier League.

Economics graduate Wenger – who revolutionised the Gunners as well as English football when he arrived in North London in 1996 – insists there will be a pan-European division encompassing the continents top clubs, and that it will take supremacy over domestic competition.

Speaking ahead of his final match in charge of Arsenal at Huddersfield Town on Sunday Wenger discussed the possibility of such revolutionary change.

On the prospect of a forthcoming European league he said: “It will happen and it will be soon.

“It will be soon because it is a way for other clubs to fight against the Premier League.

“It is inevitable. Why? First of all, to share money between the big clubs and small clubs will become a problem. Why? Because the big clubs will say that if two smaller clubs are playing each other nobody wants to watch it.

“People want to watch quality. So we have to share the money but nobody is interested in you?”

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Wenger believes the change will also see weekend Premier League fixtures replaced by European League games, which will supersede the Champions League in terms of revenues and importance.

He added: “[Why weekends?] To sell it well. Because the Champions League doesn’t sell well anymore. Look at [its] audiences.

“There’s a contrast there because if you look at the audiences of the Champions League it is not fantastic.

“But if you have Real [Madrid] v Barca, or Real v Arsenal, or Manchester United v Bayern Munich every week the audiences will be good.”

He added vast amounts of money have reduced uncertainty in the game in terms of underdogs being able to lift silverware and that the winners of leagues which contain European superpowers can normally been tipped by December in most cases.

Wenger also insisted that the 20 team Premier League will drop to 16 teams to accommodate the changes, adding: “If you want to make [the Premier League] more attractive you have to go down to 16 and make a real competition of it. It will be smaller.”