Arsenal broke their silence on the speculation about manager Arsene Wenger’s future Thursday, as speculation increased that PSG are interested in snapping up the French manager if he decides to walk away from the Gunners at the end of the season. .
The Arsenal board took the unusual step of releasing a statement to clarify the future of their under-fire boss, who remains defiant despite calls from disgruntled fans for him to leave at the end of the season.
Intriguingly, the statement from the club’s chairman Sir Chips Keswick indicated that the decision over whether or not Wenger will sign a new deal would not be made solely by the Frenchman, but collectively with the board.
The statement read:
‘We are fully aware of the attention currently focused on the club and understand the debate.
‘We respect that fans are entitled to their different, individual opinions, but we will always run this great football club with its best long-term interests at heart.
‘Arsene has a contract until the end of the season. Any decisions will be made by us mutually and communicated at the right time in the right way.’
The statement stopped short of a public backing for Wenger, with results between now and the end of the season likely to be the key factor in whether he stays.
While Arsene Wenger reportedly would prefer to sign the two-year contract that Arsenal have offered him, the animosity towards him from growing sections of the club’s fans will be a factor in his final decision.
‘Yes, fans’ opinion will have an impact on my decision, you consider everything. It will not be the most important factor, but of course, you consider it’ Wenger said.
And following Barcelona’s remarkable Champions League comeback against Paris Saint- Germain on Wednesday night, Wenger then pointed out how opinions about Barca coach Luis Enrique have changed.
‘It just sums it up that two weeks ago he (Enrique) was an idiot and everyone said, “You have to leave”, so he did. Today he is a hero. That sums up the job,’ said Wenger.
The collapse of PSG at the Nou Camp could also have an impact on Wenger’s future.
Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the Paris club’s chairman, is a huge fan of Wenger and has tried, and failed, on more than one occasion to lure the manager to the French capital.
But with Unai Emery’s future at the club under serious doubt following their capitulation in Spain, reports out of Paris suggest that Al-Khelaifi could make one last bid to bring Wenger back to France.