Arsene Wenger refutes retirement claims

By: Dean Carr

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Arsene Wenger insists he will continue to manage next season - regardless of whether he stays at Arsenal or not.

The 67-year-old, who is currently in his twenty-first year in charge of Arsenal this season, has come in for real criticism in the aftermath of his side’s humiliating 5-1 defeat away to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Another early exit from Europe compiled with the fact they are set to miss out on the Premier League title for the thirteenth season running has led many to believe this will be his final season not only at Arsenal, but within football.

Yet the Frenchman remains stubborn in the belief that no matter what happens between now and the end of the season, this will not be his final year in the managerial game.

"At the moment we have other priorities and my future is not important, it's Arsenal Football Club, the future of our team and what we can achieve until the end of the season that is important," Wenger said.

"No matter what happens I will manage next season - here or somewhere else. That's absolutely for sure.

"I hate to lose games and I want to do well for this club. You don't stay somewhere for 20 years, walk out of a defeat like that and whistle. It's difficult to take but I have the strength to respond."

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Wenger has had plenty of opportunities to leave the club since taking over in 1996, most notably when Real Madrid came calling but has turned down all offers to come his way. 

The longer Wenger’s reign continues, the further tarnished it appears his legacy at the club will be, with fans of Arsenal currently fiercely divided on their opinions of the manager and what they should do moving forward.

With Sutton United in the FA Cup on Monday evening, Wenger was quick to point out the overriding good he has performed during his time in north London.

"Even if I go Arsenal won't win every single game in future," he added. "You have to accept that, as much as it hurts to lose games.

"If you look at the history of Arsenal, they had less games in the Champions League than I'd had in my career already [when I arrived]. Since, they have done a few.

"It's not like before I arrived, Arsenal has won five times the European Cup. They have never won it, they have played maybe 10 games in the whole history of the club. We have to take into perspective some demands.

"As long as you don't win absolutely everything there's always something wrong. You have to accept that. On the other hand in the last 20 years only three clubs managed to play every year in the Champions League - Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. If not everything is perfect, not all is wrong."

About Dean Carr

Dean Carr of SBAT