He said of the former Barcelona boss: "I have a high opinion of him, I do not want to influence the job for the next manager but of course I have a high opinion of Luis". As the team continued growing older, they saw other teams getting ahead of them, as they fell down to the Europa League.
Meetings with genuine European heavyweights have invariably ended in defeat. Wenger will need to buck the trend to get past Atletico.
Costa was a surprise inclusion in Diego Simeone's squad for the match after seemingly being ruled out last weekend, but his recovery from a hamstring injury sustained in the quarter-final has enabled him to make the bench on his return to London.
It's bad news for Arsenal.
Atletico Madrid have scored 15 goals in their six Europa League games this season, giving them the best goals-per-game average in the competition (2.5).
The 41-year-old believes his former boss still has a future in the game, and also criticised some of the treatment Wenger has received from Arsenal fans. The Argentinian has enjoyed a special bond with players and fans at Atletico, but with many of his current charges starting to come to the end of their careers, he may feel that the time is now right to move on. Both players will have something to prove on Sunday. Bayern Munich and Barcelona have ruthlessly punished their gung-ho approach on several occasions in the recent past, and the lack of game management was even more apparent against Monaco in 2015.
It is not only Wenger who is on the hunt for a winners' trophy, with Lewis Hamilton still looking to take the top step on an F1 podium for the first time this season.
To celebrate their 115th birthday, Atletico Madrid have announced that they will give away 115 VIP tickets for the second leg clash with Arsenal at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium next week.
The Red Devils have defeated Chelsea, Liverpool and newly-crowned champions Manchester City in the Premier League this year and will go all out to add Arsenal on their list. "It was time maybe at Arsenal but I'm sure that he can rebuild something, somewhere".