FA chairman’s decision to quit ‘no surprise’: Arsene Wenger in London Colney

Looking forward to this weekend's game. Photo courtesy Twitter/@aaronramsey

Looking forward to this weekend's game. Photo courtesy Twitter/@aaronramsey - Credit: Photo courtesy Twitter/@aaronramsey

Retirement and a life away from football are not on the cards for Arsene Wenger, who today (Friday) pledged he would “always work”, after being quizzed about his post-Arsenal career.

With the Gunners’ boss in his final 18 months of his contract, reporters at the club’s weekly press conference, hosted at its training grounds in London Colney, asked him about his future.

The quick-witted Wenger replied: “You know that 18 months today for a manager is an eternity.”

Asked whether he saw himself staying with the Gunners beyond the 18-month period or entering talks with other clubs, he said: “No, I am completely focused on doing well, and I want completely to give absolutely everything until the end of the season, and then go for the next season hopefully.”

Further grilling on whether he saw himself being the boss of another team when he does eventually leave Arsenal saw him respond: “Not really, no. I completely commit to this club and I don’t imagine at the moment managing anywhere else.

“Will I stop to work once I do not manage at a competitive level? No, I will always try to work … and try to be useful in some level, but I will always work.

“I don’t know, it could be managing kids, developing young players, but I will not run for FIFA.”

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In regards to Greg Dyke’s decision to step down as FA chairman this summer – a move announced yesterday – Wenger said: “He has a strong personality, and I think he is honest, strong, and he wants to do things the way he sees it.

“I spoke a few times with him, and I was quite surprised he stopped, but I knew, knowing his personality, that could happen at some stage, when he could not push his ideas forward, he would stop.”

A cheeky question about whether he would go for the vacant post prompted Wenger to laugh and reply: “I don’t want that job.”

With Arsenal playing Burnley tomorrow (Saturday) at the Emirates, Wenger said that the Gunners have 23 players in training at the moment, but “not everybody is competitive – for example Danny Welbeck, but he is back in full training”.

Wenger said Francis Coquelin, who is available to play, having passed two weeks of full training, “gives us the defensive stability in the team. Before he was injured, he had a good spell in the team, and the results were good.”

Reflecting upon last Sunday’s Premier League loss against Chelsea, and Per Mertesacker’s red card, Wenger said: “Ideally I don’t want anybody to make a mistake, but that is part of the defending.

“Down there on the pitch, it happens so quickly that if you are caught a fraction of a moment in a bad position, it is impossible to correct.”

“We forget the number of times that for example Mertesacker saves the goal from happening. And the risk is part of the game, and you have to feel comfortable with that, it is part of competition, mistakes are as well sometimes part of competition, and you learn from defeat … we had great team spirit, but we came out feeling we did not play the game because we were down to 10 men.”

He said that recent signing Mohamed Elneny could debut tomorrow - “it’s a possibility … I will look at him tomorrow. He is naturally a box-to-box player with a bit more defensive minded than the usual box-to-box player.

“He has good technique, good vision, quick decision making, and he is very mobile, very agile.”

In regards to talks over Mathieu Debuchy, Wenger said he: “might go somewhere. But I don’t know where at the moment. Of course that decision has to be made very quickly now.”

He said there had been a lot of interest in the defender, and “I have opened the door for him.”

Quizzed on how talks are going on taking on two talented Nigerian youngsters, Kelechi Nwakali and Samuel Chukwueze, Wenger replied they are ‘progressing well’.

Asked whether he expected a deal to be done this month, he said: “Yes [but] there are work permit issues, medical issues, but it is progressing well.”

• Arsenal V Burnley, FA Cup, Emirates Stadium, Saturday January 30, 3pm