Arsene Wenger has admitted for the first time that supporter protests could heavily influence his decision on whether to stay at Arsenal beyond the summer.
With the Frenchman’s future very much under the spotlight – speculation which has intensified on the back of a 10-2 hammering by Bayern Munich in the Champions League – Wenger insists he is still to make a decision on his future.
Wenger was once again the subject of supporter protests during Tuesday’s 5-1 home defeat to the German champions – and he has admitted the cat calls do affect him.
“It will influence my decision, yes,” Wenger said at a press conference on Thursday morning. “It won’t be the most important factor, though.”
Asked what he thought about the banners and chants calling for him to leave, a diplomatic Wenger responded: “It is difficult for me to judge [supporter protests].
“I work hard for 20 years to make fans happy. When you lose, I understand they are not [happy].
“I don’t want to judge that and will give my commitment to my work.”
Wenger was asked to clarify a claim by an Italian journalist, who suggested Wenger had already told his players he would leave this summer.
But Wenger flatly denied a decision had been made yet: “My decision is to focus on the next game and to make sure we respond.
“Rumours of me telling the players about my future are false.”
Wenger, however, insists the heavy aggregate defeat to Bayern won’t sway his decision, adding:
“That won’t decide.
“At that level, it can be very quick and go one way or the other.
“I looked at the Champions League history. In the last seven years, we played against Barca and Bayern.
“At that level, you can be punished.
“The teams that aren’t there can’t be punished.”
Wenger also offered his thoughts on whether staying beyond this summer would affect his legacy at the club.
“I don’t work for my image. I work for this club,” he said.
“After how I will be judged, is not my problem.
“I have shown since I have been here that I love this club and I am loyal to this club.
“I have made the best decision for this club and I will continue to do that.”