'Arsenal is my home' insists Wenger as Real admit interest

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The Independent Online

Arséne Wenger has admitted that being named as a prospective future Real Madrid manager by the club's president Florentino Perez is flattering, but the Arsenal manager has insisted that he will not leave Highbury before the end of his current contract that runs until 2008.

With the future of Real's current Brazilian manager Wanderley Luxemburgo understood to be hanging by a thread after his team slumped to sixth place in La Liga on Sunday, Perez praised Wenger as a "coach I like a lot" yesterday. The Real president has sacked three managers since David Beckham's arrival in the summer of 2003 and his remarks yesterday will be interpreted as a thinly veiled attempt to sound out Wenger for the job.

However, Wenger said that he would not contemplate walking out on his current contract - a principle he has adhered to throughout his coaching career in France and Japan. "It's very nice of him [Perez] and it's nice to hear, but I'm under contract until 2008 and I have got glue on my seat here," Wenger said after last night's Carling Cup win over Reading. "It's my desire to stay and I am happy to stay."

It is not the first time the Real hierarchy have made overtures to Wenger: they were understood to have enquired about his career plans before they signed Carlos Queiroz at the start of the 2003-2004 season.

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