Arsene Wenger has reiterated his intention to remain in management next season whether at Arsenal or elsewhere after claiming that “retiring is for young people”.
The 67-year-old is yet to announce whether he will sign a new contract at the Emirates Stadium but walking away from the game completely is not something Wenger is ready for.
While counterparts such as Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, 21 years Wenger’s junior, have already spoken of when their managerial careers will come to an end – the Frenchman wants to plough on after suggesting retirement for people of his age is death.
Wenger has come in for stinging criticism from increasing numbers of Arsenal fans following a run of six defeats in nine games which has left the Gunners sixth in the Premier League and on the receiving end of a 10-2 aggregate defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
He revealed after the 3-1 loss at West Brom before the international break that he has made up his mind but, ahead of a meeting with Guardiola’s City on Sunday, he is still yet to make his intentions public.
One thing that does appear concrete is that even if Wenger chooses to walk away from Arsenal, he will be seeking employment elsewhere.
“I will not retire,” he replied when asked about filling the void left if he were to do so.
“Retiring is for young people. For old people retirement is dying. I still watch every football game. I find it interesting.”
When it was put to him that he may have to take up other interests, such as horse racing, he said: “Fergie will have to initiate me if I start that,” joking that he may have to get a helping hand from former adversary Sir Alex Ferguson.
Wenger has managed well over 1,000 Arsenal games and enjoyed spells in charge of Nancy, Monaco and Grampus Eight before that.
But he insists two things remain equal from his first match in the dugout back in 1984 – his hunger and his hatred for losing.
“Of course I’m as hungry,” he said.
“I carry a bit more pressure on my shoulders than 20 years ago (when he first arrived at Arsenal) but the hunger is exactly the same.
“When you see what the club was and what it is today – when I arrived we were seven people (members of staff), we are 700 today.
“One share was £400, it £18,000 today. And I’ll tell you straight away, I don’t have any shares.
“I hate defeat. But I can understand the fans that are unhappy with every defeat but the only way to have victory is to stick together with the fans and give absolutely everything until the end of the season, that’s all we can do.”
Asked if he now feared defeat more given the way supporters now reacted, Wenger closed by adding: “Fear, no. My next game is about hope and desire.”