Arsene Wenger taking bigger perspective on Arsenal future
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 19/03/17 11:38pm
Arsene Wenger insists Champions League qualification has not influenced his decision on his Arsenal future.
Wenger has made up his mind on his plans beyond the end of the current campaign and said on Saturday he would make an announcement "very soon" on what those plans are.
The Frenchman, who has managed the Gunners for the last 21 years, is out of contract at the end of the season.
Wenger is under increasing pressure with Arsenal's season on the brink of collapse after six defeats in the last nine matches in all competitions, although it was reported on Sunday that he could be set to stay on a new one-year deal.
The Gunners lost again on Saturday, a 3-1 defeat at West Brom leaving them sixth in the Premier League after the weekend's fixtures and five points adrift of the Champions League qualification spots.
A 20th successive season of Champions League football in 2017-18 hangs in the balance but Wenger does not think that is the be-all and end-all for the club.
"My decision will not necessarily be linked with that because I've done the top four 20 times. It's more, it's not that," said the Arsenal boss.
"I take a bigger perspective than that. It's not the last result that will decide what I will do.
"It's not (the end of the world), not any more. That was for a long time the case, but not today. Financially, I mean.
"Of course, on the sporting front it would be a blow, but financially the Champions League does not have the impact any more that it had five or six years ago because of the influx of the television money (to the Premier League)."
The 67-year-old continues to divide opinion among Arsenal supporters. Anti-Wenger fans flew a plane over The Hawthorns trailing a banner saying 'No contract Wenger out' while another later proclaimed 'In Arsene We Trust #RESPECTAW'.
As at recent home matches, the protests continued in the stands at West Brom with some supporters displaying banners calling for Wenger to leave.
Asked if he felt such actions were disrespectful towards a manager who has brought nine major trophies to the club, including three Premier League titles, Wenger said: "I don't know. I don't want to judge. I'm judged enough and I'm not a judge so I can't answer.
"Everybody in life is responsible for his own behaviour. I'm responsible for my own behaviour. I don't judge other people.
"I give my best. As long as I am at the club, whether that is for two more years, 10 more years or four more months, that will not be different. As for all the rest, everybody has to look at themselves."
After beating Arsenal on Saturday, West Brom boss Tony Pulis paid his respects to Wenger's achievements at Arsenal and said he expected the Frenchman to still be around next season.
"I think he's the greatest manager Arsenal have ever had," said Pulis.
"They could finish in the top four and win an FA Cup this season - that's not too bad is it? I don't think respect counts now. People live for today, but I'll be surprised if he goes."