Luis Boa Morte spoke in the Portuguese media about how Arsenal and Arsène Wenger won his heart, how he never got on with Glenn Hoddle and how his Arsenal scouting contract expires this summer.

Luis only played for the Gunners for two years in the nineties, making 37 appearances in all competitions. However, he told Portuguese outlet Tribuna Expresso that was enough to change his allegiances: “When I was a kid I went with my older brother to watch Benfica.

“Football we only saw on television, when it was on channel 1. But I was going to watch hockey, handball, volleyball, basketball, and so at the time I was from Benfica. Of course later when I started to play for Sporting and I began to see Sporting games at the weekend … It could not be Benfica anymore.

“Then, as the years go by I’ve lost that sympathy for Sporting. I watched the Portuguese league games, but my club became Arsenal because it was Arsenal who took me to England.”

Boa Morte then talked about how that move to Arsenal came about. As mentioned, he was previously playing for Sporting, and was planning to renew his contract with the club. However, fortunately for him, he found out Arsenal were interested, at the same time he discovered his current team weren’t after a renewal:

“I was contacted by a gentleman, Amadeu Paixão, who said there is a top 5 club in England that wants me. I got Amadeu to talk to my manager, who at the time was Jorge Gama. At the time I did not want to leave Sporting, for several reasons.

“I still did not know which English club was interested. Only when Sporting did not want to renew (my contract) did I know that it was Arsenal and then said: ‘We’ll catch the plane tomorrow.'”

Arsenal signed him up, and Luis said that everything in England was a bit of a shock for him at first. The Gunners did their best to help him out, with English classes and so on, but the contrast to his time in Lisbon was even more stark out on the pitch, as he explained:

“I arrive at Arsenal and I’m there with David Seaman, Tony Adams, Dennis Bergkamp, ​​Ian Wright, Overmars, Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit, there was a lot of quality I was used to seeing on television. Suddenly I’m right there among them. These things I was not expecting and had to get used to fast.

“They had (patience with me) and they helped me. I can not complain because things went well for me. In the early days there is always that impact, but we get used to it and Wenger always had an important role in the integration of the younger players.”

Leaving Arsenal a couple of years later so he could play more regularly, Boa Morte admitted that it was not the club that forced him out with three years remaining on his deal. He joined Southampton, which he explained went well until Glenn Hoddle came along:

“Things were going well until March, when there was a change of coaches. Dave Jones came out, Glenn Hoddle came in and it stopped working. I was Dave Jones’ choice, always playing and I was not an option for Hoddle. I stopped playing, I think I played only one game with him.

“Glenn Hoddle was not right because he did not tell me that I was not part of his plans, and I stayed. Only in the third week of July does he tell me that I could get another club when I went to him to have a talk. Of course in the third week of July, with the championship starting in two weeks, I was already at a disadvantage.

“I called Wenger who advised me to stay in England. I called Wenger who advised me to stay in England. I talked to Jean Tigana and I went to Fulham to experience.”

Later, when asked who his favourite coach was, Luis reaffirmed the difference between his time with Wenger and with Hoddle:

“All the coaches I had touched me in a way, positively or negatively. I have to give priority to Wenger because he was the one who took me to England. The only one that did not stick well with me and who I did not identify with was Glenn Hoddle.”

Now, he works as a scout for Arsenal, although he’s moved back to his home country:

“The son of Chris Coleman, with whom I have weekly contact, told me about the opportunity of the Arsenal scouting for Portugal. As I was doing nothing I thought it could also be a good opportunity to enrich my knowledge of Portuguese football. And I’ve been here for two years.

“I like the pressure, to work under pressure.”

Boa Morte now works as a coach of Sintrense part time, but hasn’t given up his scouting role with Arsenal. However, that is set to expire at the end of the season and it’s not clear at the time of writing if it will be renewed.