Monday 19 March 2018

Arsene Wenger expects players to remain professional despite uncertain future

Arsene Wenger's current Arsenal deal expires next summer
Arsene Wenger's current Arsenal deal expires next summer

Arsene Wenger believes his players will remain professional even if a decision over his future as Arsenal boss is not made until the end of next season.

The Gunners boss has just one year remaining on his current contract and on Friday he denied reports he was set to sign a two-year extension.

Instead he said, has he always has, that he will at least honour his current deal before making up his mind over whether he will extend what will be a stay of over two decades.

This season, Wenger has seen growing unrest among supporters, with a number of fans' groups calling for an end to his reign as the 12-year wait for a Barclays Premier League title continues.

But he could yet decide to remain in the Emirates Stadium hot-seat, although nothing is likely to happen until late next season.

"I will wait very late, yes," he replied when asked if he would wait until the end of the campaign.

"It's not about me, it's about the club. My role is just to serve the club as well as I can and after see where I stand and where the club is.

"I have to forget about myself even if people who want to create unrest don't. I will continue to give my absolute best to do well next season and then after that, we'll see."

Wenger confirmed he does not anticipate talks with the board during next season and said there would be no impact on his players, or his own work, over the course of the year.

"My appetite is stronger than ever," he said.

"I believe I am a professional man who respects his contract and stays until the end, whether it is one year or two years or three years - that doesn't change.

"Even if I decide in January that I will not extend my contract, that will not affect my attitude.

"You know you have not, before the season starts already, to look for excuses. We want to be committed.

"It can (affect the players) yes. But the players are like me - they are professional.

"When you are a professional, you sign a contract, you never know. To be professional is to give your best as long as you have the contract. It is for one penny or £200million, it is exactly the same.

"When I sign a contract and I agree the money that I work for, I will give my best until the last minute of the season.

"And I never re-negotiated any contract that I signed because that is the way I have behaved my whole life."

Wenger's last contract was signed just a month before its expiry in 2014 after he ended a nine-year wait for a trophy by delivering the FA Cup.

Prior to that, Wenger has penned an extension a year before the expiration date but that does not seem to be the case this time.

Despite campaigns and protests against both Wenger and those on the board at Arsenal, the manager's name was chanted during Sunday's 2-2 draw at Manchester City which sealed a 19th consecutive season in the Champions League.

And if Wenger gets a similar reaction during the lap of honour after their final game at home to Aston Villa on Sunday, he will go into the summer still uncertain of his own decision, with the 66-year-old saying he would take the fans' input into consideration: "What you want is for your supporters to be happy. That is why you work very hard."

Press Association

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