Arsène Wenger admits he could still leave Emirates in the summer
Arsène Wenger has said there is a possibility he may not be Arsenal manager next season.
Wenger stressed he expected to sign the contract he has been offered to stay this summer but acknowledged that he might change his mind if the club slump badly during the final part of the season.
Wenger also said that when he does leave Arsenal, he will not follow the example of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United by selecting his successor.
Wenger has come under increasing pressure from Arsenal supporters, especially after the 6-0 thrashing by Chelsea last weekend. Fans booed Wenger’s team after the 2-2 draw against Swansea on Tuesday.
The pressure will mount further if they fail to get anything from the next two games against Manchester City and Everton, with the Merseyside club standing a realistic chance of overtaking Arsenal and finishing in the top four.
Arsenal also face an FA Cup semi-final against Wigan in two weeks and are the strong favourites to win the competition, which would be their first piece of silverware since 2005.
Wenger said: “My commitment is not questionable. I have given my word and I always respect my word.”
But when he was pushed further on if he will definitely be the Arsenal manager next season, he replied: “Yes... unless I decide otherwise.
"I have told you many times we have had no time to sit down and do it. But I want to have a feeling coming out of the season that I have done the maximum for the club. Let’s see when the season is over.”
Asked whether he would play any role in the selection of Arsenal’s next manager, Wenger said: “I always said, and you can check that, everybody [has] his job. My job is to do well for the team, not to do anything else.”
Wenger admits he has made mistakes this season and, with Olivier Giroud running out of steam, it seems obvious that the Arsenal manager should have bought another striker during the January transfer window.
He added: “If I ask the question for someone to look back one year and would they have done something different and they say no, I say this guy is a complete lunatic. Do you ask me have I made zero mistakes in the last year? I am not stupid enough to say yes.”
Arsenal face City today having been thrashed 6-3 at the Etihad Stadium in December.
Wenger said: “We conceded three goals in the last 20 minutes when we were down to 10 men after we had played in Naples three days before. There are plenty of positives in that game to convince us that we can beat City.”
Wenger says the mental approach by his players will be the most important factor in helping the club get back on the winning trail. Even though the club employ a sports psychologist, Wenger said he would not discuss how much work he will do with the players in the build-up to the game.
“This is the opportunity to show your mental strength. I believe in mental help. Nobody is perfect. We can all take some advantage from mental help. I don’t want to talk about what we do inside and nobody tells you how to make Coca-Cola.”
Wenger hit back strongly at Paul Scholes after the former Manchester United midfielder claimed Arsenal are a “million miles away” from winning the title. Scholes claimed the club's midfielders lacked any kind of discipline or leadership in the team.
But Wenger hit back by saying: “If six points is a million miles away, then I don’t know what the translation from a mile into a point is. Everybody has opinions, people who have managed zero games have opinions and we have to accept that.
“I have leaders in my team. When you lose games people say you have no leaders. The other night we conceded a goal when we have in midfield, Kallstrom who is over 30 with over 100 caps, Arteta is over 30, Flamini is 30. We had plenty of experience in midfield and you can still concede goals.”
Scholes was also critical of Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere and feels he has not developed since the age of 17 and has failed to show his best form for the club.
But Wenger rejected that claim and believes the England midfielder will overcome his latest injury setback and come back to show why he is rated so highly by Arsenal.
He said: “Jack Wilshere is an exceptionable player for me who has been handicapped by many injuries. Once Jack is back and consistently on the pitch, he will prove everybody wrong about that because he is an exceptional player – and Scholes knows that as well.”