December 13 2013 Latest news:
By James Cunliffe
Friday, September 27, 2013
Arsene Wenger has given the clearest hint yet that he will sign a new Arsenal contract as he prepares to celebrate 17 years since his appointment as manager with a Premier League trip to Swansea.
The Frenchman was coy on when talks over a new deal would take place, with his present deal set to expire in the summer, but he offered more than enough hints that he will extend his Arsenal stay, saying he “loves” the club.
Asked if he could ever have envisaged, back in 1996, that he’d spend so long as Gunners boss, he said: “No. Not at all.
“I always said that our job is [to] work like you’re here forever and know that it can end every day.”
He then joked: “Honestly, I would love to be here forever because that would mean I would be immortal.
“I’m not naïve enough to believe that, so as long as I’m here I would just like to give the best for this club because I love this club.”
The renewed interest in Wenger’s contract comes after Arsenal supremo Stan Kroenke gave the manager a public vote of confidence, telling the Daily Mirror: “I really enjoy Arsene - very smart, very intelligent. He has an absolute view on how he runs that team and the club. He has earned that right.”
Wenger responded, saying: “I’m very honoured to have the support of Stan Kroenke and that he thinks I can help the club. That’s a huge confidence vote.
“That is something for me that is very positive.”
When pushed on when he will begin talks to sign a new Arsenal contract, he said: “The good thing with me, if I have one quality, you don’t need a lot of talks for me to extend the contract I have.
“I don’t know [when it will happen]. When we find time but I don’t think that’s the most important problem at the moment.
He added: “I said I want to focus on the quality of our season. I don’t believe that anybody can question my commitment to this club.
“I want to feel that I do well and the question of me staying will be secondary after that.”
“Arsene Who?” was the newspaper headline when relative unknown former Monaco and Nagoya Grampus Eight coach Wenger arrived in England to succeeded Bruce Rioch in September 1996.
His first match in charge of Arsenal was a 2-0 win at Blackburn Rovers and tomorrow he celebrates the landmark by taking his league-leading charges to the Liberty Stadium.
The Arsenal chief is now the longest serving manager in English football after Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement as Manchester United manager last season, but he admitted that he didn’t think, when he got the job, that he’d still be in the hotseat in 2013.
“It’s a long time and a short time because I don’t know where the 17 years have gone,” he said.
“Our job has a good advantage because you just look forward to the next game. You never look back.
“I believe that is most important.
“Of course, when you look backwards there is a lot of effort and a consistency in effort behind that.
“For me, what is the most interesting is tomorrow’s game.”
Wenger admitted that he’s desire to stay in the role had never wavered.
He said: “It’s not [a case of thinking that] I don’t need it any more. I want it even more.
“The good thing about football is it’s unpredictable. The next game is always a discovery and a new adventure, so you focus on that.
“All the rest of decoration. What is important is that you feel you can do your job where you are.
“I am very grateful to this club because, during the 17 years we have had ups and downs.
“They have always shown big faith in me and have always let me do the job how I thought it had to be done.
“If I’m still here today it’s because I got that consistent support from inside the club.”
Wenger has had numerous offers to leave Arsenal over the years with England, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Paris Saint Germain some of the clubs and countriewho have courted him.
“I turned many offers down because I rate what I’ve got here,” he said. “I always thought this club was special on that front.
“In our job it’s important to know what you want and I rated the qualities that this club has always shown.”
Asked if that faith in him from the boardroom was always justified he said: “I think so.
“If you analyse over the years, there were always interesting seasons and we were always close and consistent at the top.
“I believe it’s much more difficult to stay consistently at the top in our job than people think.
“It’s a very underrated quality and if you look at the achievements of all the clubs in Europe, you see that season after season without any deep blip, with the resources we’ve had, it shows that at least we have put the effort in every year, with ups and downs of course.
“We have a team now that can compete and that’s what we want to show.”