Wenger coy on new contract talk despite Arsenal’s overtures

ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger admits he may reject the offer of a new contract if he feels that he has fallen short of his own personal standards.

Gunners chiefs have made it clear they want the 62-year-old to stay beyond his current deal, which expires at the end of next season, despite the club’s failure to win a trophy since 2005. Wenger yesterday insisted he remained “an Arsenal man” but declined to commit to the Gunners beyond an 18th campaign and warned he would evaluate his fitness before deciding whether to prolong his reign.

“I have to consider if I do well or not. If I don’t do well, I have to consider my future,” said the Frenchman, whose side host Southampton in the Premier League tomorrow. “I will assess my own performances and then make a decision – at the moment we are not there. Two years is a long time in my job. I just want to do well for the club as long as I can and accept all the rest.

“At my age, you always have to assess if you have the fitness, the desire, the commitment that this job demands. Then of course you have to make your decisions. I hope I will be lucid enough and intelligent enough to assess my performance well.”

Wenger last season faced vociferous fan criticism, exacerbated by but not solely due to a dreadful start, yet Arsenal recovered to finish third and chief executive Ivan Gazidis is adamant he remains the right man.

He said: “It’s not sentimentalism, not a reward for our services, it’s a belief that we have an incredible manager who loves this club and is the best man to lead us forward.”