• Premier League

'Committed' Wenger in Arsenal contract talks

ESPN staff
July 13, 2013

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has held positive talks over renewing his contract and insists his "heart remains with the club" despite persistent links with a move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Wenger is believed to have been courted by PSG chiefs this summer as they struggled to find a replacement for the departing Carlo Ancelotti, but it seems the veteran tactician, who has been in charge of the north London club since 1996, is eager to extend his record breaking stay with the Gunners.

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis suggested last month that Wenger was ready to commit his long-term future to the club and now Wenger has revealed he is open to the prospect of signing a new deal before his current contract expires in the summer of 2014.

"I am committed to staying longer at this club," the 63-year-old told reporters in Indonesia, at the start of the club's pre-season Asia tour. "I've already had a chat with Ivan. It went very well, not a problem.

"The link with PSG is there because I'm French and I know the owners, but if that was the case then I would be there already. My heart is with Arsenal. I'm not at PSG because my heart is with Arsenal.

"What I will always do in the future is not to use my longevity (at this club) as an advantage to stay in this position if I don't do well. I've always shown my commitment to this club and I don't think I need to prove anything on that."

Wenger went on to clarify his position by admitting success in the final year of his current Arsenal contract would be crucial in deciding whether he will continue as manager beyond next summer.

"Would my decision depend on how well next season goes," he asked. "I am like anybody else, of course, it is important to see how well we do.

"I don't automatically assume that I will be here. I think I knew when I committed to my last contract and the contract before that the club were going through a very sensitive period, because we had less financial resources and the challenge was to stay at the top and in the Champions League during that period.

"We are coming out of that period and I hope in the next two or three years the club will be competing for the Premier League.

"What has been frustrating for me is that in recent years we couldn't give our fans what they expected of us, but now we are in a position where we want to compete for the title again. Our challenge is to close the gap on Man United, City and Chelsea.

"Nobody knows what effect the changes of manager will have at the clubs that finished ahead of us last season, but we hope to take advantage of our greater stability."

Wenger refused to be drawn on the progress of his reported bids for Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain and Liverpool's Luis Suarez, despite persistent probing from reporters.

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