Arsene Wenger says view of Arsenal fans will influence decision over whether to stay

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Arsene Wenger says view of Arsenal fans will influence decision over whether to stay

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says the opinion of fans will influence his decision over whether to remain in charge next season.

A group of Arsenal supporters protested after Tuesday’s 5-1 Champions League home defeat by Bayern Munich.

“It will not be the most important factor but you consider it, of course,” Wenger said of the fans’ reaction.

“I worked very hard for 20 years to make our fans happy and when you lose I understand they are not.”

In a statement released on the club website, Arsenal chairman Sir Chips Keswick echoed those sentiments but was non-committal on Wenger’s future.

“We are fully aware of the attention currently focused on the club and understand the debate,” he said.

“We respect that fans are entitled to their different individual opinions but we will always run this great football club with its best long-term interests at heart.

“Arsene has a contract until the end of the season. Any decisions will be made by us mutually and communicated at the right time in the right way.”

Wenger, who has been Arsenal boss since October 1996, is expected to announce in the next month whether he will stay on next season, but denied he had already told the players of his decision.

“My decision is to focus on the next game and be absolutely sure we respond well on Saturday,” the 67-year-old said.

Arsenal are currently fifth in the Premier League, 16 points behind leaders Chelsea, and host non-league Lincoln in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup this weekend.

‘We have a good united group’

England international winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 23, is one of several Arsenal players reported to be unhappy, with suggestions he could leave this summer.

“I haven’t seen that,” Wenger said of the reports. “I’m surprised by that because I believe he is developing well and has been given his chance.

“I wish that he stays at the club, he is a very promising player and has the values we rate at this club.”

Record signing Mesut Ozil has reportedly rejected an improved contract offer and Chile international Alexis Sanchez was left out of the starting XI at Liverpool last weekend following a reported row with Wenger, which the manager denied.

Forward Theo Walcott hinted at disharmony in the ranks when he revealed “things had happened” between the players.

“They need to stay in the dressing room and the players and staff need to sort it out. We are in it together. We can’t be fighting each other,” the England international added.

But Wenger countered: “We have a good united group, determined group and when you have disappointing results you always have disagreements.”

‘I don’t work for my image’

Wenger presided over two league and cup doubles within the first six years of his Arsenal reign, but his team have not won the league title since 2004 and two FA Cups represent their only major silverware in the last 12 years.

When asked by BBC sports editor Dan Roan whether staying at the club would taint his legacy, the Frenchman said: “I don’t work for my image I work for this club, with full commitment.

“How I will be judged in one way or the other is not my problem. I love this club, I am loyal to this club and I make the right decisions for this club and I will continue to do that.”

The humiliating 10-2 aggregate defeat against Bayern Munich saw Arsenal eliminated at the last-16 stage of the Champions League for the seventh successive season.

When asked about that record, Wenger responded: “In the last nine years only once have we been the worst performing English club in the Champions League.”