Wenger reveals he’s planning for Arsenal’s summer tour but refuses to confirm contract as situation borders on farce
PUBLISHED: 17:54 07 April 2017
Arsene Wenger has admitted today he is making plans for Arsenal’s pre-season – but is still keeping supporters in the dark by refusing to officially confirm his future in a contract situation now bordering on the farcical.
Wenger, speaking at London Colney this morning ahead of Monday night’s clash with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, revealed he is formulating a strategy for the club’s summer trip to China and Australia.
However he again point blank refused to confirm whether or not he will sign a new contract after his current one expires at the end of this season – or indeed whether he has actually been even offered one as reports of a power struggle are emerging from various factions at board level.
In a comedic exchange a reporter asked him: “If your best striker is six yards out from goal and is going to shoot but the goalkeeper he’s shooting against always saves, he’s never scored against him, would you still encourage him to shoot?”
Wenger thought for a moment then replied: “I would encourage him to score goals, yes.”
Without missing a beat the journalist then shot back: “So when will you make an announcement about your future?”
A stunned Wenger answered: “That has nothing to do with scoring goals. What you ask me is to score own goals basically.
“I have nothing to add to that.”
He was then asked if he is making plans for pre-season.
He replied: “Of course.”
The reporter then asked: “Does that not suggests then that you will be here [at Arsenal]?”
The Frenchman insisted: “No. It suggests that I do my job, to plan for the future of the club.
“I cannot tell you now because I don’t know, I’m focused on the next game.
“I have spoken enough about that. I have nothing to add. I cannot tell you anything more.
“I can understand the subject is of interest but to me what is of interest is what’s happening on the football pitch.”
Wenger revealed 24-year-old Argentine Emi Martinez will again start the game against Palace on Monday night as Petr Cech and David Ospina are still injured.
He praised Martinez saying: “He looked composed, calm and I know that he has the quality because I see him every day.
“I’m not surprised at his quality of his game.”
He also complemented midfielders Mohammed Elneny and Granit Xhaka’s performance in the 3-0 victory over West Ham at the Emirates on Wednesday evening as they dovetailed well as the deep lying defensive pairing. However what was striking was the way they looked at attack with purpose.
Wenger said he was impressed by the speed of the passing. He explained: “In the heart of the game, the quality of the passing [and] the speed of passing in the way we play [was good] – we have quick strikers and it’s important we feed them quickly.”
The long-serving Frenchman also confirmed Laurent Koscielny would miss Monday night’s game with a tendon problem but would not confirm how long how would be out for nor who would be captain in his absence.
He added: “I don’t know [who will be captain]. I haven’t picked the team yet. On Wednesday it was Walcott.