Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has angrily rubbished rumours that he is set to be offered a contract extension at the Emirates Stadium. The 66-year-old, who was named as successor to Bruce Rioch almost 20 years ago, is currently the longest-serving manager in European football and has won three Premier League titles and six FA Cups during his lengthy stint in England.
However, the last of those league triumphs came in 2004 and opposition to Wenger's leadership and perceived stubbornness has grown steadily more vocal in recent years. Increasingly disgruntled supporters have carried out protests with limited success at recent home matches against West Brom and Norwich by holding signs calling for his removal and declaring that it was "time for change".
Despite suggestions that his job may soon come under threat, on Thursday evening (12 May) The Times claimed that Arsenal actually want Wenger to sign new terms and that Stan Kroenke had prepared a two-year extension to his current deal, which is due to expire in 2017. Such a report further claimed that the club's majority shareholder was seeking an answer by October in order to give the Gunners enough time to seek out a replacement in the event that he decides to retire.
Responding to that speculation at a press conference held prior to the final match of the season at home to relegated Aston Villa on Sunday (15 May), the Frenchman denied any new agreement was forthcoming.
As quoted by The Telegraph, Wenger said: "That is completely wrong and I don't know where this information comes from and you can treat that as just an invention. It is absolutely false.
"I would like the press to check this information before they give it out because they could have checked with the club or with myself and we would have denied it. I think about the next game and at this stage you want to do well. I am committed with integrity and full commitment to the club as long as I am under contract. And that is all.
"My focus is to respect my contract and after envisage what I will do after. I can understand that people are interested in that but that is not the most important thing. I think I have extended my contract in a period when it was vital for the club. After that I will see where I am personally and as well where the club stands at the end of my contract."