Arsene Wenger has given another hint regarding his future by admitting he is already planning for next season - but added the considerable caveat that he would do that even if he were leaving and any new signings are joining because of the club’s identity, not because of him.
If that line sounds conspicuously like the refrain from those supporters more critical of Wenger, that “it’s Arsenal FC not Arsene FC”, the manager’s comment follows on from growing murmurs around the club that - apart from getting set to announce a two-year contract extension - he has also devised a list of summer targets, including Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus, to try and recharge the side.
Some of those may have to replace Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, whose own futures remain uncertain, even though Wenger stated on Thursday that he believes they want to stay and hopes an agreement can be reached.
Directly asked whether he is making plans for next season, Wenger said: “Yes of course. But that again, I told you, do I stay two months or ten years, I plan for… I do my job exactly the same.”
The one big issue with all of this is that any transfer target will obviously want to know who he is playing under regardless of why he’s joining, but Wenger said that nothing has reached that stage yet.
“Usually. But we are at the moment not in a transfer mode,” he said. “We analyse what we have to strengthen but we are not in contract negotiations at the moment with players… but we are always honest and when you speak with people you are always honest.
“Arsenal is a world brand today, respected all over the world, and the Arsenal name is bigger than my name and come to Arsenal is more important than… you don’t come to Arsene Wenger , you come to Arsenal.”