Arsene Wenger has denied that his recent admission he could be managing a team other than Arsenal next season is a threat and has insisted that his “first preference” is to remain at the club for a 22nd season.
In the wake of Arsenal’s emphatic 5-1 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich, Wenger was forced to concede that he is considering his future and claimed that he will announce whether he will sign an end of season contract extension “in March or April”.
On Friday the Frenchman also shot down suggestions that, at the age of 67, he was considering retirement.
“No matter what happens, I will manage next season, whether it’s here or somewhere else,” he commented in a press conference ahead of Arsenal’s away trip to Sutton United in the fifth-round of the FA Cup.
Wenger has however moved to clarify that earlier comment, insisting that the remark was not a threat by revealing that staying on at Arsenal remains his preferred course of action
“It is not a threat at all,” Wenger said. “My preference is always to manage Arsenal and I have shown that. But I think that I am adult enough to analyse the situation.”
Wenger has also reiterated that his passion for management remains as strong as ever and he has suggested that he could spend up to four more years in management before retiring at the same age as Sir Alex Ferguson.
“Ferguson was four years older than I am today (when he retired),” he added. “So maybe there are four seasons left – or maybe there are some more or some less, I don’t know.
“Everybody is different on that front. But Ferguson has some other interests in his life. He was an unbelievable manager, but when you have enough you have had enough. And I am not at that stage.”
It is not the first time that Wenger has spoken of his continued passion and it appears his ambition is equally unstinting. Ahead of the club’s trip to non-league Sutton, Wenger refused to accept winning the FA Cup was the only manner in which the club could end the season on a high.
“The Championship is still open,” he insisted.
“Of course it is a disappointment that we lost in the Champions League, but the FA Cup has always been an important competition for us.
"And in the Premier League we are still trying to finish as high as we can, and we still have to continue fighting for the Championship.”
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