Soccer

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Wenger: Mind made up over future

Published 17/01/2014|10:42

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Arsene Wenger's contract finishes at the end of the season

Arsene Wenger indicated he has already decided whether to stay on as Arsenal manager, with public confirmation of a contract extension expected to follow in the coming weeks.

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The 64-year-old's current deal expires at the end of the season, and talks have been going on for some time to tie up the long-term future of the French coach.

Wenger was again pressed on those contract negotiations at Friday's press conference ahead of the visit of Fulham, and whether there was any time frame at which a firm conclusion had to be reached one way or another.

"There is always a point where you have to decide, of course," Wenger said.

"There is a point where you have to decide and there is a point where you have to make your decision public."

When asked if that meant he had already made his decision, Wenger replied: "You can take of that sentence the way you want it."

Arsenal are also looking to secure new deals for defender Per Mertesacker and full-back Bacary Sagna, the France international who is out of contract in the summer.

Wenger said: "We are making good progress and hopefully we can announce something soon."

Arsenal are expected to bring in some attacking reinforcements this month to try to help offset the loss of England forward Theo Walcott to a serious knee injury.

Schalke's German international Julian Draxler, who is said to have a £37million buy-out clause, has been touted as a potential target - with some reports suggesting the player had been spotted on a tour of Arsenal's Hertfordshire training complex.

Wenger, though, insisted nothing was imminent.

"That's like an unidentified flying object - some see them everywhere," the Arsenal manager said.

"I am curious as well (to see what will happen), but the transfer period lasts until the 31st of January.

"Are we close to signing anybody? At the moment I would say no."

Wenger added: "The transfer market in January is a low key transfer market.

"There is very reduced activity (generally). There will be some of course, but in the last three days as always."

Arsenal have also been linked with Fulham forward Dimitar Berbatov.

Wenger said: "Do I rate Berbatov as player? Highly. Have we made any approach to sign Berbatov? No.

"I don't think (we would look to sign Berbatov) because we have (Nicklas) Bendtner who is coming back, we have Yaya Sanogo who is making very good progress in training.

"Of course we have lost Theo Walcott and that for us was a big blow. Hopefully we can compensate, but we have not made any approach (for Berbatov)."

Wenger would rather do away with the whole mid-season transfer window.

"You have my signature straight away," he said.

"Either you scrap it completely, or you leave it open until as long as possible to the last four games.

"It is like running a relay, then in the middle of the relay you change your runners."

Wenger said: "It gives teams a chance who are already convicted, it gives some teams hope.

"But when I arrived in England, the window was open until April, the whole season, and it was not a problem.

"Why did you change it? To create that high intense activity and suddenly in January everybody becomes nervous.

"Before it was the whole season and it did not create any problem."

Czech midfielder Thomas Rosicky could play in a protective mask against Fulham following surgery to correct a broken nose suffered when he was caught by a stray elbow from Gabriel Agbonlahor during the win at Aston Villa on Monday night, although full-back Nacho Monreal is doubtful after twisting a ligament in his foot.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have announced a new multi-million pound commercial tie-up with Huawei, which will see the telecommunications specialist become the club's official smartphone partner on a global basis until the end of the 2015/16 season.

Press Association

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