Arsene Wenger says Arsenal future is short-term

BY foxsports • November 19, 2011

Arsene Wenger sees his Arsenal future as only ''short term'' and that he has the feeling that ''something's coming to an end'' at the club.

The Frenchman took charge in 1996, guiding the club to three league titles and the league and FA Cup double on two occasions. But frustration has grown among fans as the club is without a trophy since the FA Cup six years ago.

In an interview with L'Equipe magazine published Saturday, Wenger was asked if he envisages staying at Arsenal for a long time, and whether he could mirror Alex Ferguson's long tenure at Manchester United with 15 more years with Arsenal.

''No. For me we're now talking short term, it's obvious,'' he replied.

However, he said after Arsenal's 2-1 win over Norwich that he is ''completely committed'' to seeing out the remaining two years on his contract.

Wenger considers last season as the toughest of his career.

Arsenal lost the League Cup final to Birmingham after a late, calamitous mix-up in defense, lost to eventual winners Barcelona in last 16 of the Champions League after winning the home leg, and slipped away from contention in the league.

''During the storm I was strong and I stayed focused,'' Wenger said. ''If I admit my mistake, it was wanting to win everything. We played 27 matches between November and January.''

With key players like Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy leaving the club ahead of this season, Wenger was forced to hastily reinforce his squad before the transfer window shut.

''I know my recruitment was criticized,'' Wenger said. ''But I think it was successful beyond all my expectations.''

He admits to feeling let down by young players leaving, as he had a vision of building the club's long-term future around them.

''What's tough is the feeling that something's coming to an end,'' he said. ''You had a project with players you took on at 18 and who leave at 23. It's not what you dreamt about.

''For the first time since I've been here I lost young players who were reaching maturity,'' he added. I suffered, because it's painful to lose key players you have invested a lot in, it was painful that results weren't good enough.''

In previous years, it was Wenger who got rid of players once they reached their early 30s.

The likes of Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires and Thierry Henry all left, leading to some fans questioning whether Wenger had effectively sold the heart and soul of his trophy-winning teams.

After a tough start to the current campaign, Arsenal has recovered well on the back of Robin van Persie's outstanding form, and on Saturday secured its fifth straight league win to keep in touch with the top four.

However, with ambitious Paris Saint-Germain constantly linked to a new manager to replace Antoine Kombouare, Wenger's name will continue to be linked to the big-spending French club.

Wenger says he has good relations with the club's Qatari owners, but adds that he encouraged them to stick with Kombouare and denied there is a move in the offing.

''There's no point dragging me down that path,'' he said. ''It's not because we're good friends that we will work together. Sometimes it's best to avoid that in order to stay friends.''


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