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Rediff.com  » Sports » Wenger focused on team amid reports board split on his future

Wenger focused on team amid reports board split on his future

April 14, 2017 19:05 IST

Arsene Wenger

IMAGE: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Photograph: Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said he was unsure whether there were divisions in the club's boardroom regarding his future and that he was more focused on salvaging his team's stuttering Premier League campaign.

Wenger is out of contract at the end of the season and calls for the Frenchman to end his 20-year reign at the north London club grew louder after they suffered their fifth loss in eight league games at Crystal Palace on Monday.

The Arsenal board, according to British media, are split over Wenger's future after the 3-0 defeat at Selhurst Park left the club sixth in the league, seven points behind fourth-placed Manchester City with a game in hand.

"I don't know. What happens above in the board is not down to me," Wenger told reporters on Friday. "I focus on what is important for me (which) is the performance of the team and what the fans are interested in is the performance of the team."

Wenger, however, believes his relationship with majority shareholder Stan Kroenke remains unchanged.

"I believe our relationship has always been the same, it has not changed," said Wenger, adding that "nothing has changed" with regard to whether he will extend his contract.

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis is pushing for change, including an overhaul of the club's scouting network and the appointment of a director of football, say British media.

Former Arsenal winger Marc Overmars, currently director of football at Ajax Amsterdam, has been widely tipped for the role but Wenger said he was not aware of the reports.

"No, I am not (aware of the Overmars speculation). I like Marc Overmars. It is always difficult. We spend a lot of time in our society focusing on things that are superficial," he said.

The Frenchman added that Arsenal face a "massive" challenge to finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League.

He said injured defender Laurent Koscielny and keeper Petr Cech have an "80 percent" chance of returning to the squad in time for Monday's trip to second-bottom Middlesbrough.

Contract talks can wait, says Arsenal's Ozil

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil does not want contract talks to distract the club in the crucial run-in to the end of the season and will wait until the Premier League campaign is over before discussing his future, the German midfielder has said.

Ozil's place at the club has been the subject of much speculation in British media, with reports suggesting the 28-year-old, whose contract runs out in less than 15 months, is refusing to sign a new deal of around 250,000 pounds per week.

Arsenal are sixth in the league, seven points behind fourth-placed Manchester City, who have played a game more.

"At this stage I'm not important, what's important is the club," Ozil told British media. "We've still got a lot to aim for this season, to try and finish in the top four.

"It would be wrong to think about anything other than the football and then we can talk again at the end of the season."

Manager Arsene Wenger is out of contract at the end of the season and calls for Frenchman to end his 20-year reign at the club grew louder after they suffered their fifth loss in eight league games at Crystal Palace on Monday.

Ozil said Wenger was the main reason he had decided to join the club from Real Madrid in 2013.

"As players we cannot decide who manages the club." he added. I've always said he was the most important reason in me coming here."

Ozil, the club's record signing, has faced fierce criticism following several below-par displays this term, leading to questions being raised about the German's attitude.

"Maybe my style sometimes does make it look like I'm not 100 percent there," he said. "But that is my body language, that is the way I have always been. That is the way I am and I won't change that."

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