WENGER HAS DECIDED
Arsenal manager wants to stay as concerns grow over Ozil’s commitment
ARSENE Wenger wants to stay at Arsenal — but fresh concerns over Mesut Ozil’s commitment to the club are emerging.
Beleaguered boss Wenger has been contemplating leaving the Emirates Stadium in recent weeks but has decided he wants to stay beyond the end of the season despite watching the club’s season implode.
Wenger — acutely aware of growing discontent from fans — is still not ruling out leaving when his contract expires this summer with the prospect of Arsenal finishing outside the top four and missing out on FA Cup glory weighing heavily on his mind.
As reports of a move for Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel emerged in Germany, Wenger has told close allies it is now his intention to stay.
But the long-term Gunners future of Ozil is looking far bleaker amid a mysterious hamstring injury that ruled the attacker out of the defeat at West Brom on Saturday.
Some players believed the German wouldn’t start against Tony Pulis’ side during Friday’s training session, the last before the game.
Ozil, though, did not finish the session complaining of a hamstring strain, though the extent of the injury is unclear.
He reported for treatment over the weekend but is expected to join up with Germany ahead of tomorrow’s clash against England in Dortmund.
There was also some doubt over whether Ozil would start against Liverpool earlier this month; but the former Real Madrid missed training ahead of the clash due to an illness.
Like Ozil, there remains major uncertainty over Wenger’s future.
Despite their awful run of six defeats in nine; there remains a willingness from members of the Gunners hierarchy — though not all — for Wenger to continue next season.
Sources claim the club’s current plight has only served to strengthen Wenger’s resolve to sign a new contract.
Staff at the club’s London Colney HQ noticed a positive change in Wenger’s mood last week, viewed as a indication that the Frenchman has finally made a decision about his future.
Before signing his previous deal in 2014, staff noticed a similar change in Wenger’s mood. Days later he began telling staff that he’d decided to stay.
Wenger is yet to inform at least the vast majority of his backroom team and players about his plans but the growing feeling is that Wenger is set to sign a new deal.
Wenger — who retains the support of most players — and the Arsenal board have agreed a twoyear extension, but the Frenchman has not physically signed the deal.
A potential compromise of a 12month extension has been explored, but such a scenario would be on a rolling contract basis.
Wenger, though, will be urged to loosen his grip on the club’s footballing operation when he holds talks with the board over his future.
The Emirates hierarchy are keen to introduce some infrastructural changes as they prepare for life after Wenger.
It was revealed on Feb 17 that the club are interested in delegating some of Wenger’s current responsibilities, with the appointment of a technical director on the agenda, particularly with the club’s chief negotiator Dick Law understood to be considering leaving the club within the next 18 months.
Additions to Wenger’s backroom staff — which has been accused of being stale in recent years — could also be discussed.
Arsene Wenger wants to manage Arsenal beyond this season.