Arsene Wenger wants to stay on at Arsenal - reports
Arsene Wenger is expected to tell the Arsenal hierarchy that he wants to remain as the club’s manager next season, with talks planned in the next few days.
Wenger confirmed on Saturday that he had made a decision on his future following Saturday’s shocking 3-1 defeat at West Bromwich Albion, with calls for his departure widely expected to be greeted with confirmation that his reign of over two decades at Arsenal would end when his contract expires next summer.
Yet widespread reports are now suggesting Wenger has decided he will not walk out on Arsenal at the lowest point in his historic tenure as the club’s manager, with his desire to end his story on a high encouraging him to battle on.
Wenger has insisted that his side's push for a top four finish and Champions League qualification will not influence his decision to remain at the club, in comments that back up reports he is hoping to stay in charge.
A 20th successive season of Champions League football in 2017-18 hangs in the balance but Wenger does not think that is the be-all and end-all for the club.
''My decision will not necessarily be linked with that because I've done the top four 20 times. It's more, it's not that,'' said the Arsenal boss.
''I take a bigger perspective than that. It's not the last result that will decide what I will do.
''It's not (the end of the world), not any more. That was for a long time the case, but not today. Financially, I mean.
''Of course, on the sporting front it would be a blow, but financially the Champions League does not have the impact any more that it had five or six years ago because of the influx of the television money (to the Premier League).''
Wenger’s contract is set to expire at the end of this season, with the woeful performance of his players in their defeat at the Hawthorns on Saturday inspiring Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp to suggest his time at the club was coming to an end.
“That is the sort of performance that gets managers the sack,” declared the clearly irate Redknapp.
“That was shambolic from Arsenal. Attitude, desire, set-pieces…I have never seen a team play at the top level defend set-pieces like that. I have never seen such shambolic defending.
“It was diabolical today. I have never seen anything like that from an Arsenal team and I hope Arsene Wenger went into that dressing room and told them what he thinks of them because that was not good enough today.
“Arsene Wenger will take the brunt of this, but the players have been diabolical. I am trying to find one positive from that, but I can’t find it. No leaders, nothing. It was abject.
“They are a team going through the motions and they don’t care whether the manager is there or not. That is not good enough for Arsenal Football Club.”
Arsenal made it clear in a statement earlier this month that Wenger would not be the sole decision maker when his future is considered at the end of this season, yet his desire to remain at the club would appear to put the owners in a difficult position.
If they have decided a change is necessary amid increasingly heated protests from supporters, they would have to inform the 67-year-old Frenchman that they no longer require his services in what would be a messy end to the Wenger era at Arsenal.
A compromise position could see Wenger state that he intends to remain as manager for one more year, giving time for a successor to be found over an extended period.
Meanwhile, German newspaper Bild are reporting that Arsenal have made an approach to Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel as they consider options beyond Wenger, with this story set to dominate the Premier League agenda until some clarity is provided by the Gunners board or their manager.