Arsene Wenger insists he will not walk away from Arsenal after it emerged he attended a board meeting on Monday to discuss the club’s future.
The manager’s position will be reviewed by Arsenal’s top brass at the end of the season, with the possibility of Wenger leaving becoming a very real option.
Wenger came out fighting on Wednesday, confirming his intention to see out his contract, which expires at the end of next season.
Manager Arsene Wenger, 68, responded defiantly when quizzed about his Arsenal future
Wenger, pictured in training on Wednesday, is determined to see out his contract until 2019
However, he is well aware of growing doubts within the club over whether he is the right man to lead Arsenal forward.
Sportsmail understands the Frenchman was at a full board meeting just 24 hours after watching his side’s feeble 3-0 Carabao Cup final defeat by Manchester City at Wembley.
The impact on the club’s finances of not qualifying for the Champions League is understood to have been on the agenda.
Arsenal’s half-year financial results, which were released on Wednesday, show the drop from the Champions League to the Europa League created a £23.4million fall in football revenue in the six months to the end of November 2017.
Fears over further losses will intensify with Arsenal set for a second successive season out of Europe’s elite club competition, which would have a key bearing on whether Wenger stays.
But speaking on Wednesday, the Arsenal manager underlined his determination to remain until at least the end of next season — although he acknowledged the decision was out of his hands.
Wenger attended a board meeting 24 hours after Arsenal’s 3-0 defeat by Manchester City
A couple of City supporters mocked the Arsenal boss by holding up a ‘Wenger stay’ message
‘I have been here for 21 years and I have always respected my contract so I am quite amazed that you ask me the question,’ said Wenger defiantly when asked if he would still be manager next season.
‘I’ve turned down the whole world to respect my contracts. In life, I look at what people do, not at what they say. What I did in my life was that (not break a contract), so I am quite amazed that you asked me the question.
‘If you want me not to be here, that’s a different problem. You ask me about my commitment, and my attitude is dictated by what I did in my life, not by what I say.’
Intriguingly, however, Wenger added: ‘You try to master what you can master. What is above you, you cannot decide. I am exactly like you. I am an employee and I give my best for my club that I love.’
Meanwhile, Wenger provided an update on Jack Wilshere’s contract talks. The midfielder has still not signed a new deal and, as it stands, can leave the club for nothing in the summer.
‘It’s progressing, but the decision belongs to him. At the end of the day you have to respect the decision of the player,’ Wenger added.
‘Our desire is clear, is expressed, is numbered and after that the player has to find satisfaction as well.’
His position will be reviewed this summer but Wenger has no intention of standing down