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Gunners blazing towards a bright future – Wenger

Arsenal are in a "very, very strong position for the future", manager Arsene Wenger said yesterday as an eighth season without a trophy reaches a nervy conclusion.

Wenger (below) also played down any talk of him leaving the Gunners before his current contract ends next year and said he felt as committed to Arsenal as he has done since arriving in the red half of North London in 1996.

Arsenal are in a fight with their arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea for the two remaining Champions League places for next season as they seek to compete in the elite European competition for a 16th successive season.


Wenger said: "We have gone through a period that was very sensitive, we are coming out of it now and everything is here to have a great future.

"We have a good fan base, we now have a strong financial situation, we have good young players and a squad with a bright future with the quality of the young players we have.

"It is just to manage it well now."

Wenger has been under some pressure during the past two seasons with Arsenal failing to mount a realistic title challenge and falling short of adding to the three Premier League titles or four FA Cups that he won between 1996 and 2005.

Despite that, they have never fallen below fourth since Wenger arrived, have moved from the 38,000-capacity Highbury to the 60,000-seater Emirates Stadium and have played in the Champions League every season since 1998-99.

There have been rumours in the past that the 63-year-old Frenchman might leave Arsenal and these gained ground last week with rumours of a move to Paris St Germain, but he has ruled out an imminent return to his homeland.

"I have answered that question already. I respect my contracts," he said.

"I believe a big club should be run where everybody does his job and I try to do my job. The only thing I can say is that I do it with a lot of commitment and a lot of loyalty.

"I try to do as well as I can for this club. I want to stay if I do well and if I consider or the club considers that I do well, that is all."

Of more immediate concern is this evening's match at QPR and taking three points to keep up their top-four challenge.

"The only thing we know is it can only be decisive if we win our games. That is compulsory.

"We focus on winning our games and then look at the results of other teams."