Arsene Wenger: 'I will manage next season whether it is at Arsenal or somewhere else'
Arsene Wenger: 'I will manage next season whether it is at Arsenal or somewhere else'
17 February 2017 • 1:41pm
Arsene Wenger has announced he will manage elsewhere next season if he quits Arsenal after confirming he will decide his future in March or April. Wenger revealed he was not ready to retire irrespective of whether he called time on his 20-year career with the Gunners amid growing speculation he was preparing to do so. Supporter unrest has reached unprecedented levels following Arsenal’s 5-1 Champions League humiliation at Bayern Munich on Wednesday night, compounding fears another season was about to unravel. Wenger, who has been offered a new contract to extend his reign, said: “No matter what happens, I will manage next season, whether it’s here or somewhere else. That’s absolutely for sure.” Confirming he gave an interview in which he revealed he would “probably” decide his Arsenal future within the next two months, the Frenchman said there had been no prospect of him walking away after Wednesday night’s humbling.
He added: “You do not stay somewhere for 20 years to then walk out after a defeat like that. It is difficult to take, but I have the strength and experience to respond to that.” Wenger denied the aftermath of the defeat had witnessed a dressing-room bust-up, saying: “There was no incident in the dressing room, apart from a huge sadness and disappointment.” Full transcript of Wenger's press conference He also revealed Alexis Sanchez had been given time off to attend a court case in Barcelona relating to tax he paid while with the Spanish giants but that the Chilean was due back in training on Saturday. And Wenger said that defender Laurent Koscielny, whose departure on Wednesday cost Arsenal dearly, would have a scan on Friday on the hamstring injury he suffered.
Otherwise, the Arsenal manager fielded a succession of questions about his future and mounting calls for him to step down. “That is an eternal debate when you are somewhere for a long time and you have a big disappointment,” he said. “Even if I go, Arsenal will not win every single game in the future. That is part of it, you have to accept that, as much as it hurts to lose games. “If you look at the history of Arsenal, Arsenal had less Champions League games when I arrived than I had in my career already, and since then we have done a few, so I hope in the future we can win this trophy, or Arsenal can win this trophy.
“But it is not like I arrived Arsenal had already won the European Cup five times – they had never won the European Cup. They played maybe 10 games in the history of the club, so you have to take into perspective some demands.”
He added: “I think what is important is that the club makes the right decision for the future. I do not work here for 20 years not to care about this club, because I had many opportunities to go somewhere else during that period and I care about this club and I care about its future. “It is very important that the club is always in safe hands, whether that is me or someone else, which I am sure it will be.”
That was pretty eventful, and the toplines are as follows: Wenger says he will be managing next season - either at Arsenal or elsewhere He will make a decision on his future in March or April He resolutely denies there was a dressing room argument between the players after the Bayern defeat Alexis is in Barcelona for a court case and will be back in training tomorrow Koscielny will have a scan today on his thigh injury. Wenger says he will name a strong side against Sutton in the FA Cup fifth round on Monday, but a couple of youngsters may be given a chance
On his successor
"It is important for the club to make the right decision for the future. "I did not work here for 20 years not to care. "I had many opportunities to go somewhere else but I care for this club and its future. "It is important to be in safe hands."
On fan dissent
"That is an internal debate. Even if I go, Arsenal will not win every game. As long as you don’t win everything, there is always something wrong. "You have to accept that. "In the last 20 clubs in Europe, only three clubs have played every season in the Champions League - Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. "If everything is not perfect, not everything is wrong."
Wenger defends his European record and says he's managed more European Cup games at Arsenal than they previously played in their entire history.
"I will manage next season whether it is here or somewhere else."
That's a pretty big revelation from the manager.
Future to be decided before end of the season
Yes, I will decide future in March or April, but I don't know when. I speak to the board but I don't want to speak about how they view my future. What's important is the club, not my future.
What of Sanchez's mid-season break?
He has a court case in Barcelona, and will be back in training tomorrow.
Wenger then categorically denies there was a heated in the dressing room post-Bayern, "No. Not at all. Everyone was of course deeply disappointed and effected...there was sadness and disappointment" He adds that the FA Cup is a very important target. On facing Sutton: "I have a team in my head to face Sutton for 10 days or so, and that has not changed after Bayern."
Response to the Bayern defeat
What is important for us is to focus on the next game and let everyone else criticise. We have to focus on what we can influence, and that is our next game. We need to keep our confidence and belief in how we play. We need to stick together.
Updates on Koscielny and team news for Sutton
Kos will have a scan today, but otherwise it's a normal team. I gave young players a chance against Southampton and one or two might have an opportunity against Sutton.
Thoughts on the Bayern defeat?
We were in an ideal position at half-time, but after that it all went wrong. At 3-1 we were mentally affected by the result and looked a lot more vulnerable.
Can you feel the tension?
Things are massively hotting up in that small conference room in Hertfordshire, but still we wait.
We're still waiting
Wenger is famously as punctual as he is willing to abandon his attacking principles.
This was Wenger after Bayern
Abroken man? He does seem devastated, but then again he's been like that many time before.
Arsene Wenger describes ‘nightmare’ match against Bayern Munich
What to expect
His own future, Alexis's rage against Bayern and subsequent mid-season break to Italy, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain berating his team-mates at the Allianz Arena, suggestions of heated dressing room arguments in the aftermath of the 5-1 defeat, Ozil's agent claiming his client is being made a scapegoat. These are the topics we are expecting Wenger to be asked about this morning. The official club website though is sticking resolutely to the party line:
Much to ponder
As well as the manager's future, Arsenal will have a number of issues to deal with this summer, including convincing Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil to sign new contracts. Our deputy football correspondent has handily summarised the five main crises facing the club at the end of the season. Beginning with what happens to Wenger, Jeremy writes: Decisions will not be made until the outcome of the season is known but defeats this month against Chelsea and Bayern Munich have shifted the balance of probabilities. Arsène Wenger will fight on and try to turn the situation around but a gap to Chelsea of 10 points and a 5-1 first leg deficit against Bayern feel insurmountable. Yet with so much of the season still to play – including the FA Cup – no definitive outcome is likely until April at the earliest and perhaps even the summer. A major turnaround is surely needed for Wenger to stay on and Arsenal do not currently look mentally or physical capable of delivering that finale.
After Wednesday night's 5-1 hammering at Bayern Munich, speculation has intensified over the future of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. There is a growing belief that Wenger will leave at the end of the season after 21 years at the club. Following the defeat in Munich, a devastated Wenger took just three questions in his post-match press conference, so all eyes will be on today's press conference from London Colney at 9am. We will be live blogging it as soon as things get under way, and prior to that have a read of the articles above and the preview below. Arsene Wenger will address the media this morning with questions over his Arsenal future still high on the agenda following his side's Champions League capitulation at Bayern Munich. The Gunners were thrashed 5-1 in the opening leg of their last-16 tie, leading to stinging criticism of Wenger and his players and renewed calls for the Frenchman to leave when his contract expires at the end of the campaign.
The 67-year-old will speak at 0900 at a press conference designated as a chance to preview Monday's FA Cup fifth-round clash at non-league Sutton. But in reality, Wenger is likely to be grilled on his plans for the future, even if he has previously insisted he will not make a decision on whether to extend his 20-year reign until the season's conclusion. Given their mammoth task of having to beat Bayern 4-0 in March's home leg to advance in the Champions League and the fact that two defeats in three Premier League games has seen Arsenal slip out of contention for the title, the FA Cup tie is now massive for Wenger and the club. It would be one of the biggest upsets in the history of the competition if the 12-time winners were knocked out by the Vanarama National League outfit.
But all is not well at the Emirates Stadium, with Wenger under pressure and his players wilting when he needs them most. None of the squad spoke to the media as they trudged onto the team coach leaving the Allianz Arena, with the likes of Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka among those widely condemned for their displays. It is the latest in a run of recent games where club-record signing Ozil has stood out for the wrong reasons as he is so often of the periphery of the match. But he has been defended by his agent, Dr Erkut Sogut, who claims the Germany international has been made a "scapegoat" for all of Arsenal's recent ills. "Criticism is normal if a player plays badly," Ozil's representative told BBC Sport. "But Mesut feels people are not focusing on his performance; they are using him as a scapegoat for the team after bad results."
"Football is a team sport and Arsenal are not performing well as a team. Eleven players were on the pitch but Mesut was singled out for criticism. Was he the reason that Arsenal conceded five goals? "It started before the match, throughout the week leading up to the game. People started discussing: 'Should he play? Should he be dropped?'. "It was as if everyone knew Arsenal would not make it through and we needed a scapegoat. This is not right. You win as a team and you lose as a team."
Wenger is likely to be asked about Ozil's performances and whether the German World Cup winner will feature at Sutton, but it will be the questions over his own long-term future that are expected to dominate his news conference.