Monday 22 January 2018

Arsene Wenger hints he wants to stay at Arsenal beyond this season

Arsene Wenger's current Arsenal contract expires at the end of the current season
Arsene Wenger's current Arsenal contract expires at the end of the current season

Ian Baker

Arsène Wenger has finally hinted that he wants to stay as Arsenal manager.

The Frenchman’s future is uncertain following his refusal to sign a new contract beyond the summer combined with the north Londoners’ poor campaign.

But in the wake of Arsenal’s 5-1 Champions League defeat by Bayern Munich, Wenger has given the first sign that he still sees a future for himself at the Emirates Stadium.

When asked to elaborate on comments made on Friday that he wanted to carry on in management next season whether at Arsenal or elsewhere, the 67-year-old said: “If you have a team maybe you can employ me.

“That’s not a threat, my preference is always to manage Arsenal. I think I have shown that. But I am adult enough to analyse the situation.”

Wenger has long been believed to be a master of his own destiny but his latest remarks suggest that there is a chance the Arsenal board could take the decision for him.

Certainly the man who joined the club in 1996 still believes he has a number of years left in him and could even surpass Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement age of 71.

“Ferguson has some other interests in life,” he said. “He was older than what I am today, he was four years older and retired at 71. I’m 67. Maybe [I’ll manage for] more, or maybe less. I don’t know, everyone is different.

“I do not want to take anything away from Ferguson, he was an unbelievable manager but had enough. I’m not at that stage.”

Arsenal’s mood could not be lower after their humiliation in Germany, a result that Wenger concedes will take considerable time to get over.

“It will never be quick,” he said. “We will keep that with us for our whole lives. But overall I still believe on the other hand that in life if you dwell too much on the past you forget to prepare for the future.

“You have to show that is part of a successful life. You have to deal with disappointments and focus 100 per cent on what is front of you and deal with that.”

Arsenal will look to avoid a banana skin on Monday when they make the trip to non-League Sutton United in the FA Cup fifth round.

“I analyse with clarity, as much as possible, what happened and will see how to find a solution preparing for the next game,” said Wenger. “I think the future gives you hope and the next game is part of the future.

“I absolutely accept the situation and analyse it well. No matter how much we cry together we will not change the result. The only thing we can do is win the next game.

“I would say it is more about character and being united. It is important you do not get in a blame culture and be united to respond well.”

The FA Cup has been a saving grace for Wenger in previous seasons and he has won the competition with Arsenal in 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2014 and 2015.

But when asked if he felt those achievements were undervalued, he said: “I don’t care too much about that. I set myself targets and I do not look too much about the judgment. I’m used to that, I’m used to high demands. I’m at Arsenal Football Club and it’s absolutely normal.”

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