Wenger not bothered if decision over his Arsenal future proves unpopular
If Arsenal beat Chelsea today it would be one of Arsene Wenger’s greatest achievements as a manager, in what could yet be his final match in charge of the Gunners.
But even if they win, do not expect him to go home with his medal. Wenger would rather give it away, to someone to whom it would mean more. He is, in his own words, “not a back-looker”.
It was an interesting revelation from a manager who has had such a successful career. He has won titles and cups in England, France and Japan, as well as stacks of personal trophies.
But he has no interest in any of that. Even as he heads into the final phase of his career, he just wants to keep going.
“I have no medals at home,” Wenger said. “You would not even guess that I am a football manager. I always give them out. There is always a guy at the club who did not get a medal. A member of staff. I have given it to him. So you are always a medal short and you will always find someone who takes it.”
It also explains why now, at 67-years-old and at Arsenal for 21 years, Wenger is desperate to keep going. He has the ambition, energy and drive of a much younger man and still thinks about where he can take his team to. He wants to get them back to the summit of English and European football, as unlikely as that sounds, and believes he is the right man.
Do not take his lack of medals at home to mean a detachment from football, but rather an obsession with getting better.
“I am not separated from football,” Wenger said. “I am completely in football. I don’t look back at what we have won.”
But the big question going into today, even bigger than who wins, is what happens next. Wenger has been deflecting questions about his future all season and admitted last Sunday that doing so has damaged the team. There will be a board meeting next week that should resolve the question but, for now, everyone is in the dark.
There has been a new contract on offer to Wenger for months, but whether he signs it remains to be seen. There is a lingering sense of frustration with Arsenal that the issue has got this far.
“One of the problems in modern society is that companies sit there, not to make the decisions that are good for the company but is it popular or not?” said Wenger.
“I don’t care about that. I just want to make a decision, is it right or is it wrong, is it good or not? All the rest is artificial debate. So I don’t care about all the rest.”
Belfast Telegraph Digital