Arsene Wenger has given his strongest hint yet that he intends to stay on as Arsenal manager for another two years, but said the issue is “not sorted completely out.”
Wenger once again refused to make an announcement about whether he will renew his contract when it expires this summer, but reiterated that he knows what he wants to do.
He said at a news conference ahead of Sunday’s crucial Premier League game against Manchester City: “I am very clear in my mind, But anyway do I stay two months or two years? My commitment will be exactly the same. So the time I spend here does not influence at all my attitude.
“I’ve always been very clear in my mind and I will remain like that, but it’s a subject that is not sorted completely out.”
Wenger has come under heavy pressure following Arsenal’s recent slump in form that has seen the Gunners drop to sixth in the league. Some disgruntled fans have been staging protest marches before recent home games demanding that the club does not renew his deal.
Wenger had said after Arsenal’s 3-1 loss at West Brom before the international break that he had made a decision on his future and would announce it “very soon,” having previously said he would make a decision in late March or April.
Arsene Wenger has come under pressure from some fans.
But when pressed on when he will make an announcement, the Arsenal boss said: “I have nothing more than that… I spoke a lot about that and for me it’s exactly the same, I have to focus on what is important.”
He also rejected the notion that the uncertainty about his future is causing instability at the club.
“No. The priority in life is always to focus on what is important and not to look for excuses,” he said. “At the moment our results are not going the way we want, but as well we have to make sure that the priority for us is what happens on the pitch.
“Being professional is to perform on the football pitch and not to find escape excuses where I think there are not [any].”
A win over Man City would ease some of the pressure, but Arsenal will be without goalkeeper Petr Cech, who is still sidelined with a calf injury. Cech will also miss Wednesday’s home game against West Ham but could be back for the trip to Crystal Palace on April 10.
Lucas Perez is also out with a thigh problem, while Wenger confirmed Santi Cazorla will not return before the end of the campaign. Cazorla has been out since October and is recovering from foot surgery.
“I think the season is over for him,” Wenger said.
Arsenal have lost four of their last five Premier League games and their chances of a top-four finish would take a further blow with another defeat against Pep Guardiola’s side. But Wenger promised that Arsenal will not move away from their normal attacking game.
“We come out of a difficult period and we play at home in a very big game. It’s a good opportunity for us to bounce back,” he said. “I think it’s two teams who, when you look at the numbers, have the best numbers of the final third in the league.
“That promises to be a very positive, attacking game. Both teams will attack — they go for it, we go for it, so it should be a promising game.”