- Premier League
Wenger has passion to continue
Arsene Wenger insisted he is more passionate than ever about his future at Arsenal as head prepared to reach 1,000 games as their manager against Chelsea on Saturday.
His contract expires at the end of this season and, despite Arsenal reportedly offering him a new £160,000-a week-deal, he has yet to commit himself to the club for next year.
Thanks for standing by me
- Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger reveals his pride, regrets and humility in a typically waspish take on reaching a landmark few of his counterparts could dream of
- Click here for more
But during a ceremony this morning at Arsenal's London Colney training base, when the club presented him with a gold cannon today to celebrate the forthcoming longevity landmark, Wenger gave the clearest hint yet that he wants to to carry on in his current role.
"How long will I continue? I am an idealist but not a fool, not crazy," he said. "I am at the stage of my career where I am extremely passionate, maybe more than ever, to do well for this club. But I have to accept that the next thousand will be difficult!"
Some reports suggested Arsenal wanted to announce a new Wenger deal before his 1,000th game, with chief executive Ivan Gazidis saying in January: "Arsene will be extending with us and, at the right time, we will announce that."
However, fears have grown that Wenger could yet walk away from the club unless he is certain the squad is in a position to compete for trophies next season.
"The most important thing when you love a job is to wake up in the morning and be happy to go to do your job," Wenger, who took charge in 1996 and confirmed he has since turned down jobs with other clubs, said. "I always had that here even when we had more difficult periods. That is why I always stayed here.
"It's a privilege of course to have managed 1,000 games in the same club and between the moment I met David Dein and he introduced me to Peter Hill-Wood, of course a lot has happened at this club.
"I must say for such a long time the club has always supported me and I feel already that I'm privileged in that because that's not always usual in our game. We have gone through difficult and fantasist periods but always remain focused on being united at this club."