Arsene Wenger Wants to Stay at Arsenal ‘Forever’

Arsene Wenger celebrates his 17th anniversary as Arsenal boss this weekend – and has already set his sights on 20 years.

Wenger admitted he was “honoured” by Gunners majority shareholder Stan Kroenke’s strong message of support in his interview with Mirror Sport .

US sports mogul Kroenke made it clear he wants Wenger to stay beyond his current £7.5m-a-year contract which expires next summer and talks have begun about a new deal.

Arsenal boss Wenger said: “I am very honoured to have the support of Stan Kroenke. That he thinks I can help the Club is a huge confidence vote. That is something for me that is very positive.

“Honestly, I would love to be here forever because that would mean I would be immortal! I’m not naive enough to believe that. What I would like to do as long as I am here is to give my best for this club.

“I said I want to focus on the quality of our season. I don’t believe that anybody can question my commitment to this club. I want to feel that I do well and then the question of me staying will be secondary after that.

“I don’t know (when it will be signed). When we find time. I don’t think that’s the most important problem at the moment. The good thing with me, if I have one quality, you don’t need a lot of talks to extend the contract I have.

“I don’t know where the 17 years have gone. Our job has a good advantage – you just look forward to the next game. You never look back. What is for me the most interesting is tomorrow’s game.

“It’s not that I don’t really need this anymore. I want it even more. I think the good thing of football is that it’s unpredictable and the next game is always a discovery and a new adventure and so you focus on that.

“I have turned many offers down because I rate what I have here. I have always thought that this club is special and I rated the qualities that this club has always shown.”

Kroenke’s other clear message was that he is desperate to win the Premier League, claiming there would be “nothing cooler” than to win the title. That is something in Wenger’s sights as the £42m signing of Mesut Ozil has only strengthened their chances of staying top and the Frenchman was candid in admitting that in recent seasons he had trouble persuading his players they could do it.

Arsenal flirted with the title in 2008, 2010 and 2011 but this season, with new resources behind them, comes fresh hope of winning their first trophy in eight years.

Wenger said: “What is important is that level of expectation is high. In recent years, because we have lost players we had to face a lower level of expectation and that is quite hard for me.

“Anyway, it’s more difficult to raise enthusiasm behind the team because the belief is not completely there. But the fact that the level of expectation being high is a good sign because it means people think you have a good chance.

“It’s the most open season for a while. It’s difficult to say and very early. I would like to give it ten to 12 games and you will know more.”

Arsenal’s in-form midfielder Aaron Ramsey is an injury doubt for Swansea because of a thigh injury but Mirror Sport understands he trained yesterday and is hoping to be fit along with Mathieu Flamini who has a shoulder problem.

The injuries remain the biggest concern for Wenger who yesterday claimed Theo Walcott’s surgery on a stomach injury had gone well but he could be out for five weeks which is even longer than expected. Wenger may use Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs as a pairing down the left.

Wenger added: “Optimistic for Theo is three weeks, realistic is five. Ramsey has a little thigh problem but he should be alright.

“He is going back to Wales, certainly, for him it is always special. But you know Aaron Ramsey is a tough boy. He has a test today and I think he will get through.”

Arsenal (probable): Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Flamini, Ramsey, Wilshere; Monreal, Ozil, Giroud.

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