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Wenger coy on new Arsenal contract

ESPN staff
October 18, 2013 « Arsenal on alert as Casillas considers Real exit | Chartbeat test »
Wenger's Arsenal Priorities

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hinted that he has been offered a new contract by the club, but refused to be drawn on when he would put his signature on a new deal.

Wenger's current contract runs out at the end of this season and reports suggest he has been handed the option of extending his stay at the club by two years, with the Arsenal boss declining the opportunity to dispel those rumours at his latest press conference.

"I didn't deny that [there has been an offer]," he said. "I said many times I don't think there is any need to come back on. I answered that question already. I said what I said when I was asked this question at the start of the season. Nothing has changed.

"When you are manager at the club you have to prepare for the long-term always and act like you will stay forever. What is important now is our next game."

Wenger has also moved to insist he did not promise the club's shareholders that they would finish this season with a trophy, as he suggest his comments were instead expressing a hope that their trophy drought will come to an end.

Wenger's claim that 'we will all be happy come May' as he addressed Arsenal supporters at The Emirates was viewed as a pronouncement that his team were ready to challenge for the Premier League title, but he drew back from clarifying whether that should be viewed as a promise from the Arsenal that trophy success would follow this season.

"I said [at the AGM] I want everyone to be happy by the end of May," confirmed Wenger.

"That is of course the target of any manager. I can't imagine any manager would not want the fans to be unhappy at the end of the season. That's what we work so hard for. You can call that what you want. We just want to win our next game."

Wenger went on to claim that the game's top managers are under an unreasonably bright spotlight, in a week that has seen England manager Roy Hodgson hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons, despite his success in leading England to next summer's World Cup finals.

Hodgson found himself caught up in a tabloid storm after contents of his half-time briefing with his players, with his joke labelled winger Andros Townsend as a 'space monkey' forcing the England boss to issue a public apology.

Yet Wenger suggests all top managers are liable to make mistakes in their words and actions as they get caught up in the heat of a high-profile match.

"We would like to have a bit more confidentiality because we know we are in danger in these situations," he added. "You have a penalty turned down in the last minute and you can go overboard in the corridor with the fourth official. You would not like a camera to be there, but the demand to see more is always bigger. Sometimes who pays the price, it's always the manager.

"I have been aggressive at half-time, but you have to adapt to the culture of your team. What looks normal in an English dressing room suddenly looks completely shocking in a Japanese dressing room. You adapt to the culture of where you are. Sometimes we say things that are politically correct, that can happen to any manager.

"I don't know what happened [with Hodgson]. What he said, what did he mean, but be in the centre of controversy, it's part of [the job]".

Wenger meanwhile is relishing the prospect of pairing Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil in his starting line-up for the first time against Norwich this weekend, as he insisted there can be room for both attacking midfield maestros in the same team.

Ozil's arrival at Arsenal has left many observers questioning where the fit again Cazorla will fit into the new-look Gunners line-up, but Wenger is bullish about the options the duo provide him with.

"You want all your best players to play together in a very positive way," he said, after confirming fit again Cazorla is only lacking match fitness after a spell in the treatment room.

"I'm very happy at the moment with the team who have played until now, so do not expect anything special. Instead of focusing on one or two players, focus on developing ourselves as a team. There is still room for improvement and a desire inside the team to improve."

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