Arsene Wenger has hinted he will leave Arsenal in 2017. The Frenchman’s current £8m-a-year deal expires at the end of next season.
The manager was rounded on by angry Gunners fans at yesterday’s feisty annual general meeting with supporters slamming the team’s embarrassing Champions League record.
He said: “I am resolute to commit absolutely until the last day of my contract to bring back big success to this club, and leave as well one day in a position where it can do even better when I leave.
“That is for me very important that I leave the club in the shape that the guy who comes after me can do better.
“The responsibility on my shoulders is much bigger. I know what it means for people. I know how sad people are when we don’t do well, I know how sad people are when we lose a game.”
Speaking at a stormy annual general meeting, the 65-years-old insisted he is “absolutely committed” to seeing out his contract, which expires in 2017. Sir Chips Keswick, the Arsenal club’s chairman, also made clear that and the board remain convinced that Wenger is the “best person to take charge of Arsenal for as long as he feels inclined”
“Looking back, I am proud we have won titles and FA Cups, but the first quality of a club is to be consistent. We have had 18 consecutive years in the Champions League. Only one club — Real Madrid — has done better. I can understand that is not enough. I am the first person to agree that it is not enough. We want more.” Wenger said.
Regarding the new Champions League outings and Lossing to Monaco in the round of 16 in 2014-15 and startings this European campaign with losses to Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiakos. Wenger urged critics to look at teams results as a whole over the course of his career.
“I agree that the [recent] performances were not good enough. But we have played over 150 games in Europe. You have picked three performances that were not good enough.
“But if you look at the percentages of games won in Europe you will see Arsenal are in the top five. You speak about Monaco, but they lost against Juventus who went onto the final, but they never deserved to lose to Juventus. They deserved to beat Juventus.
“I accept you have to be over-critical when the performances are not good, but look at a number of games Arsenal played in Champions League before I arrived and look after, and come back to me.”
Wenger again heard questions about his reluctance to spend money in the transfer windows – especially this past summer, when the club had cash in hand. The Frenchman’s biggest signing of the summer was luring Petr Cech away from Chelsea in a move that cost a scant £10 million.
“We are not scared to spend the money — I know I have that reputation. We have shown in the last three years if the player has the quality, we spend the money,” he said.