Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger clash for final time when Manchester United host Arsenal at Old Trafford

And when Arsene Wenger is offered an olive branch by Jose Mourinho, he wants to be certain his nemesis does not have a dagger in his other hand.

Wenger’s enmity with Mourinho has gone on so long the Arsenal boss now refuses to take anything his rival says at face value.

So, he will grudgingly grant a cursory handshake to the Manchester United manager tomorrow — but that is as far as it goes.

And no amount of glowing tributes from the Portuguese prince of mind games will convince Wenger to lower his guard.

The rivalry between two of the Premier League’s greatest managers has festered for more than a decade.

And even Wenger’s imminent departure is unlikely to improve their frosty relationship.

Mourinho, 55, has been doing his best to bury the hatchet in the build-up to what is likely to be their final meeting.


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But 68-year-old Wenger is in no mood to forgive and forget the insults of the past 13 years from the man who got under his skin like no other.

It remains his firmly held view that Mourinho irrevocably crossed the line back in October 2005 when he labelled him “a voyeur”.

Mourinho accused Wenger of being obsessed with what he was doing at Chelsea and claimed: “He likes to watch other people with a telescope. It’s a sickness.”

It was a comment which truly appalled the Frenchman.

And he remains convinced that Mourinho’s carefully chosen words were linked to the completely untrue rumours which circulated about his private life when he first arrived at Arsenal.

Wenger fumed: “He is out of order, disconnected with reality and disrespectful.

“But when you give success to stupid people, it makes them even more stupid.”

The battle lines were drawn and there was to be no coming back.

Mourinho seized every opportunity to goad the fuming Frenchman and the fact that his teams remained unbeaten by Arsenal until the 2015 Community Shield gave him plenty of ammunition.

Hostilities were briefly put on hold for occasional frosty meetings at Uefa coaching seminars after Mourinho was sacked by Chelsea in 2007.

But the ceasefire was broken the minute he returned to Stamford Bridge in 2013  as Wenger publicly questioned the timing of Juan Mata’s transfer from Chelsea to rivals Manchester United.

It is alleged in a biography that Mourinho fumed: “One day I will find him outside a football pitch and I will break his face.”

When Wenger suggested a month later that some managers had a fear of failing, Mourinho countered: “He is a specialist in failure.

“If I went eight years without a piece of silverware like him, I would leave and never come back.”

By then it was only a matter of time before the verbals led to physical confrontation. And it did in October 2014 when Wenger shoved Mourinho on the touchline during a 2-0 defeat at Chelsea.

“Call that a push? I’ll show you a push,” Wenger fumed when quizzed about the incident.

Mourinho later revealed: “I told him, ‘Here you can do that and you know I can’t react. But one day I will meet you in the street’.”

As far as we know, the threat has never been carried out. . . yet.

Both managers have bigger fish to fry. Arsenal the Europa League semi-final and United the FA Cup final.

But it will not dilute the desire for one final victory over an old foe at Old Trafford tomorrow.

It is the chance for these gnarled old sparring partners to pull on the gloves for one last tear-up.

Go to your corners and come out fighting. Defend yourselves at all times. Seconds out. . .

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