Arsenal have taken the unusual step of issuing a statement on Arsene Wenger’s future amid huge uncertainty over whether the Frenchman plans to stay on after his contract expires this summer.
The 67-year-old has come under intense pressure after defeats to Chelsea and Liverpool and the Champions League thrashing at the hands of Bayern Munich.
Wenger has so far refused to confirm whether he plans to stay on at the club and chairman Sir Chips Keswick has commented on the situation.
“We are fully aware of the attention currently focused on the club and understand the debate,” he said via the official Arsenal website.
“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.
“Arsène 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.”
Tuesday’s clash against Carlo Ancelotti’s men saw fans protest against Wenger before kick-off and call for him to step down.
Wenger admitted in Thursday’s press conference that any decision on his future could be influenced by supporters’ opinions.
“It will not be the most important [factor] but I will consider it of course,” he told reporters. “It is difficult for me to judge [the level of the protests].
“I [have] worked very hard for 20 years to make the fans happy and when we lose games I understand they are not – at certain times you have to accept different opinions.”
Quite why Arsenal have opted to speak out now remains to be seen but the timing is certainly odd, particularly as the statement was issued after Wenger’s press conference this morning.
The statement insists any decisions will be made mutually, although it is understood that Wenger has been offered a new deal and the club are waiting his decision on whether he will chose to extend or not.