Arsene Wenger admits he may not see out his Arsenal contract
Gunners boss will sit down with the board at the end of the season
Arsenal play Tottenham in the north London derby on Saturday against a backdrop of continued unrest at the Emirates.
A few years ago, this fixture served only to demonstrate the stability and success of the Gunners and the uncertainty that stalked most Spurs managers. But now the roles are reversed.
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has brought stability to the club and although the silverware is still proving elusive, they are at least a success on the field this season, beating Real Madrid 3-1 to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League and lying third in the Premier League.
Arsenal, meanwhile, are sixth and for the first in 20 years don’t have the excitement of playing in the Champions League, neither of which has so far prompted the board to part company with Arsene Wenger.
However, in an interview with beINSports, the Frenchman gave his strongest hint yet that he may be considering calling it a day with the club he has managed since 1996.
To the consternation of many in the red-and-white half of north London, Wenger signed a two-year deal with Arsenal earlier this year, but will he see it through to its conclusion in June 2019? Asked about his future, the 68-year-old said: “I said I will sit down with the board at the end of every season and see where we go from there… I have a two-year contract. I will always try to go to the end of my contract, but always have the honesty to sit down with the board and see where we go.”
The Sun describes the admission as “sensational” and says it throws Wenger’s commitment to the clubinto uncertainty.
Wenger’s decision may ultimately be decided by how this season pans out.
Twelve points behind leaders Manchester City, Arsenal already look to be out of title contention. Were they also to fail to qualify for the Champions League again, it’s hard to see how Wenger could remain - even if he does guide the team to yet another FA Cup.
There remains the slim possibility he could be gone by Christmas if Arsenal lose to Tottenham on Saturday, Manchester United on 2 December and Liverpool on 23 December.
Having suffered heavy defeats to Manchester City and Liverpool this season, Arsenal are struggling to keep pace with the big boys, clubs they once dominated, and the fans’ impatience would rapidly turn to anger.
The London Evening Standard believes that while Wenger retains the support of majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, he “will remain in control of his own destiny”. However, should the American conclude Arsenal’s on-field failings are having a negative impact financially, the decision could be taken out of his hands.
Wenger also hinted that Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez may be entering the final few weeks of their Arsenal careers in the interview, reports Metro.
“No decision has been made on that front,” he told beIN, when asked if he might considering selling the pair in the New Year. “We’ll have to think about that to see where we stand with them at the end of December.”