Football: 'Wenger in' looking a distinct possibility

Arsene Wenger has come under fire from fans after Arsenal were thrashed by Bayern Munich in the Champions League and slipped out of the Premier League's top four.
Arsene Wenger has come under fire from fans after Arsenal were thrashed by Bayern Munich in the Champions League and slipped out of the Premier League's top four.PHOTO: EPA

Arsenal manager has come in for plenty of brickbats but looks likely to pen a new deal

LONDON (AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN) - Beleaguered Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has decided to stay at the club, according to British media reports yesterday.

The Daily Telegraph and Daily Mirror said that Wenger will inform Arsenal's board he wants to extend his contract, which expires at the end of the season.

Wenger, 67, has come under fire from fans after Arsenal were thrashed by Bayern Munich in the Champions League and slipped out of the Premier League's top four.

Supporters renewed calls for him to step down during and after Saturday's 3-1 defeat by West Bromwich Albion, with some holding up "Wenger Out" banners.

Speaking after the game, Wenger said he had made up his mind about his future and would make his intentions public "very soon".

IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL

I'll be surprised if he goes... Because he told me.

TONY PULIS , West Brom manager, believes Gunners manager Arsene Wenger will not walk away come end of the season.

West Brom manager Tony Pulis joked in his post-match conference that Wenger had confided in him that he would remain at the club next season.

"I'll be surprised if he goes," Pulis told reporters, as revealed in yesterday's newspapers.

Asked why he thought Wenger would stay, Pulis replied: "Because he told me."

Arsenal have not commented on the reports on Wenger's future.

Wenger, Arsenal's manager since 1996, is believed to have been offered a new two-year contract.

Arsenal's support is split over Wenger, who won seven trophies in his first nine seasons as manager but has won only two FA Cups in the 12 years since.

Rival groups of Arsenal supporters paid for planes trailing banners that were both critical and supportive of him to fly over the stadium during Saturday's game.

One banner read "No Contract #Wenger Out", the other: "In Arsene We Trust #RespectAW".

The defeat at West Brom was Arsenal's fourth in five league games and left them in sixth place in the Premier League table, six points below the Champions League places with two games in hand.

They recently lost 10-2 on aggregate to Bayern in the Champions League, going out in the last 16 for the seventh season running.

Wenger added that his future at Arsenal was does not depend on the club securing a place in next season's Champions League.

"My decision will not necessarily be linked with that because I've done the top four 20 times. It's more. It's not that," he said.

"I take a bigger perspective than that. It's not the last result that will decide what I will do."

It is believed that Wenger will not officially announce his decision before Arsenal's next league game, which is after the international break at home to Manchester City on April 2.

The German newspaper Bild claimed on Sunday that Arsenal had approached Borussia Dortmund about their manager Thomas Tuchel's availability as a potential replacement for Wenger.

However, The Times understands the club have not held talks with any club or manager about replacing Wenger, in a sign that the Frenchman is more than likely to stay at the Emirates.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 21, 2017, with the headline ''Wenger in' looking a distinct possibility'. Print Edition | Subscribe