x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Arsene Wenger in no rush to extend Arsenal contract

Manager wants focus on his team amid run of success

Arsene Wenger, centre right, wants the focus to stay on Arsenal's run of success and not his contract situation. Alastair Grant / AP Photo
Arsene Wenger, centre right, wants the focus to stay on Arsenal's run of success and not his contract situation. Alastair Grant / AP Photo

Arsene Wenger maintains there should be no concern over a delay in finalizing his new contract with Arsenal.

The Frenchman, 64, has been offered an extension to his £7.5 million (Dh45m) deal to stay as manager past the end of the season.

It remains unsigned, with Wenger insisting now is not the time to focus on anything other than keeping Arsenal atop the Premier League when they travel to Cardiff on Saturday.

“I said many times, that people don’t need to question my commitment to this club,” he said. “I can just reiterate what I said at the start of the season – I want to feel that I do well, and focus on that.

“I am relaxed about the situation. What is important is that the players have the support, to focus on the target, which is to do well in every single game.”

Wenger is the longest-serving manager in the English top flight and insists his desire for success burns as fierce as ever, with the quest continuing for a first trophy since the 2005 FA Cup.

“I have been here for 17 years, and I just want to make sure that I deliver to this club what the club is expecting,” Wenger said

“I decided that at the start of the season, because we had a very difficult start, and I want to continue that and do a good job and focus on that. My commitment is not a problem to this club.”

Arsenal beat Marseille 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night to all but secure a place in the last 16 of the Uefa Champions League.

Victory at Cardiff City, where England left-back Kieran Gibbs is set to be available again following illness, could see the London side move seven points clear, with their leading rivals not taking the field until tomorrow, Wenger said.

“We have that opportunity, we want to grab at the moment.

“We are in a position where we do not need to look too much at the other results, just at our results. That is a luxury, and of course, we want to take advantage of that.”

Aaron Ramsey will come up against his former club Cardiff and Wenger is thrilled with the form of the Welshman.

“I believe his defensive awareness has improved, his defensive qualities have improved and his defensive score is very strong now,” Wenger said.

“After that, he has a huge desire to play every single ball. He wins the 50:50s – that was not the case a year ago.”

sports@thenational.ae