Arsene Wenger took to the stage at the AGM and delivered an unusually emotional speech. The normally stoic Frenchman assured the shareholders that he saw his future at Arsenal and that he was very happy at the club. He also thanked the fans for their support over the years and promised to keep working hard for the betterment of the club.
The doubts about Wenger’s future had arisen after an article claimed that AS Monaco Vice President Vadim Vasilyev had expressed an ambition to lure the former manager back to the club.
The Frenchman began his career in the principality and won two trophies in a seven-year spell that ended with his sacking in 1994. Reports had suggested that the Ligue 1 club met with Wenger in August and had hoped to lure him back to France with a £10m-a-year tax-free deal.
But Wenger dismissed the rumours, saying:
Before we start, I can tell you the story about Monaco that somebody brought out is totally untrue, so you don’t need to ask me the question.
I’m happy here.
He also made it clear that despite the weak start to the season, the club remained as ambitious as ever and he believed that they were set for another successful season and could even challenge for the Premier League title.
It’s always an important part of my season to come here and meet you. Why? I know you’re very ambitious, you can be sceptical, critical but as well this is a very important meeting because we have something in common: we are very loyal to this club. And we love this club.
I’m very grateful to see the same faces for so many years. I know I don’t always please you as I would want to… one thing is for sure that we will give everything this season to make you happy. We are united, determined and ready for a fight. We are in front of another season where we need your support again, I’m sure we will get it and I’m very grateful.
We won the FA Cup with a difficult run, but we managed to deliver the trophy and it makes us stronger, more confident and I believe we will have a strong season.
And on the contentious issue of lack of defensive cover, Wenger admitted that he might have made a mistake and he was looking to rectify it in the January transfer window. However, he asserted that the reason for not buying in the summer was that the right defenders were unavailable.
We bought good players, I believe we’ve done remarkably well in the transfer market. We wanted one more player, but couldn’t.
We will try to rectify that in January.
We have a good core of young British players, who feel the value of our club. Slowly the modern game has lost that.
So we need your support again. I encourage you to be behind us. You are magnificent. And I’m sure we will come out this season more united and stronger.
A strong message from the veteran manager, who has become quite a divisive figure of late. If the team manages to rally after the shaky start to the season and gets a few wins under their belts, then we may well see Wenger challenging for the title. Also, his transfer window activity will be closely watched and he will be fully expected to reinforce in January. Overall, it is nice to see that the board and the manager seem so confident for the future.