Arsene Wenger pledges future to Arsenal
LONDON (AP) -- Arsene Wenger wants to stay on as Arsenal manager beyond the end of his current contract and believes the club is now in good shape to challenge for trophies.
The 63-year-old Frenchman, who joined Arsenal in 1996, has only one more season left to run on his deal and has recently been linked with a possible summer move to French side Paris Saint-Germain.
Wenger, however, pledged his loyalty to Arsenal on Friday and maintained his hunger for success is as strong as ever.
"Every football game excites me and football in general still excites me - the love for this club as well,'' Wenger said. "I have answered that question (about Paris Saint-Germain) already. I respect my contracts.
"I want to stay (past 2014) if I do well and if I consider or the club considers that I do well, that is all. I want this club to do well, that is my basic feeling.''
Wenger has endured a turbulent relationship this season with Arsenal's fans, some of whom are frustrated at his reluctance to buy new players and demoralized by the club's lack of silverware.
Arsenal's last trophy was an FA Cup in 2005 and star striker Robin van Persie last year became the latest in a long line of stars to quit the club when he joined Manchester United.
"We have gone through a period that was very sensitive,'' Wenger said. "We are coming out of it now, in a much stronger position financially. I believe the club is in a very strong position for the future.''
The Arsenal board is reportedly set to formalize negotiations over an extension to Wenger's contract at the end of the season. With a 60,000-seat stadium up and running and the club's financial situation secure, Wenger believes the club will be in good shape even after he has gone.
"I believe a big club should be run where everybody does his job and I try to do my job,'' Wenger said. "The only thing I can say is that I do it with a lot of commitment and a lot of loyalty. I try to do as well as I can for this club.
"I believe that this club is today in a very, very strong position and has gone through a very sensitive period in a very intelligent way. After that, everything is here to have a great future.
"We have a good fan base, we have a strong financial situation, we have good young players and a squad with a bright future with the quality of the young players we have.
"It just has to be managed well now.''
On Saturday, Arsenal will face Queen's Park Rangers, who have already been relegated to the second tier. The Gunners need to maintain pace in the hunt for a place in the Premier League's top four.
Arsenal is currently one point behind Chelsea and two ahead of Tottenham, who face each other on Wednesday in what could prove to be a decisive match.
"The only thing we know is it can only be decisive if we win our games. That is compulsory,'' Wenger said. "We focus on winning our games and then look at the results of other teams.
"The most important thing is not to lift your head, just to focus on our job and continue our strong run.''
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