Arsène Wenger will decide when time is right to leave Arsenal

Frenchman in no hurry to sign new contract with Gunners

Jim van Wijk
Thursday 13 September 2012 18:14 BST
Wenger has transformed the fortunes of the north-London outfit since his arrival
Wenger has transformed the fortunes of the north-London outfit since his arrival (Getty Images)

Arsène Wenger maintains he will only leave Arsenal 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. The Frenchman 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 Barclays Premier League action against Southampton on Saturday.

"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."

Wenger added: "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.

He said: "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.

"That is what has always been my target."

Arsenal will resume their Premier League campaign looking to continue on from a 2-0 win at Liverpool, which was a third match unbeaten.

Midfielder Abou Diaby is rated as 50/50 after picking up a minor knee problem while on international duty with France, but may be rested ahead of next week's start of the Champions League campaign in Montpellier.

Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is fit again following a rib injury, but winger Theo Walcott will be assessed after missing England's game against Ukraine with a virus.

Southampton may have lost all three of their first matches back among England's elite, but Wenger has been impressed by performances against both of the Manchester clubs - only beaten by United in stoppage time at St Mary's last time out.

"In the end you wondered how they lost both games," said the Arsenal manager.

"We are on alert because we know Southampton is a team who plays with a positive attitude and can score goals."


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