Wenger has the desire to go on at Arsenal
ARSENE WENGER will always be an “Arsenal man” and maintains he will only leave the club if he no longer feels up to the job.
Gunners chief executive Ivan Gazidis has indicated the club are ready to offer the long-serving Frenchman fresh terms before his current deal expires in the summer of 2014.
Wenger has transformed the fortunes of the north London outfit since his arrival as a relative unknown in September 1996. He turns 63 next month, and accepts only he can really be the judge of when to finally call it a day at Emirates Stadium.
“I have been at the club long enough to have confidence in the people I work with, but I will assess my own performances and then make a decision, at the moment we are not there,” said Wenger, whose side resume Premier League action against Southampton tomorrow.
“Two years is a long time in my job. I just want to do well for the club as long as I can and accept all the rest. I have to consider that at my age, you always have to assess if you have the fitness, the desire, the commitment that this job demands.
“Then of course you have to make your decisions. I hope I will be lucid enough and intelligent enough to assess my performance well.
“I am an Arsenal man. I think I have always shown that. I have to consider if I do well or not. If I don’t do well, I have to consider my future.”
The appointment of the relatively unknown former Monaco and Grampus Eight Nagoya coach may have been greeted with the famous headline “Arsene Who?”, but it is now hard to imagine the future direction of the club without him.
Wenger, though, feels whoever eventually takes the team forwards will have a more than solid base. “I believe as a manager you have to make sure that on the day I leave, the club is in a fantastic situation, that the guy who comes in after me has a good chance to be successful, that he finds a strong financial situation, a strong team and the club has a structure which can allow him to have success.”
Meanwhile, Wenger has met Bacary Sagna to demand an explanation for the defender’s comments about Arsenal’s summer transfer policy and made it plain that he expects better of club employees.
Sagna articulated his “surprise” last week that the club should sell Alex Song to Barcelona on the back of Robin van Persie’s departure to Manchester United, saying: “When you see two of the best players from last season leave, you ask a lot of questions.”
Wenger said he “had a chat with Sagna about it” and he spelt out what he considered to be the responsibility of every Arsenal member of staff. “I believe any player or any employee always has to defend the company he works for,” Wenger said. “And if he is not completely happy with it, then he has to go somewhere else.”
Wenger does not think Sagna is unhappy or will leave. Sagna will be out of contract in June 2014 and said negotiations over an extension had not yet started. Wenger said the club would offer Sagna a new contract and he was confident an agreement would be reached. “I expect him to stay and I want him to stay,” Wenger said.
“The interview does not really reflect what he thinks about the club and the love he has for the club. I think he loves the club and he will stay here. We have lost players until now but the situation is changing and it will be in favour of Arsenal much more because of financial fair play.”
Wenger reiterated his stance over Song’s £15 million (€18.6m) sale, which Sagna had described as a “big loss”. Sagna is a good friend of Song. “I can understand that Sagna was disappointed,” Wenger said. “But when you look at the number of players we have in midfield, you can understand as well. When you have Arteta, Diaby, Cazorla and Song, one can’t play.”
Sagna is “two to three weeks away” from a return from his broken leg, according to Wenger, who had a generally upbeat fitness bulletin.
Wojciech Szczesny will return to the squad after his rib injury while Jack Wilshere is “making quick progress” from his fractured foot.