Arsene Wenger has sought to play down suggestions that he will retire from football management at the end of the season - even if his future doesn't lie with Arsenal.
The 67-year-old's future has been the subject of intense speculation in recent days after his Gunners' side was thumped 5-1 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League last 16.
Wenger, though, told reporters at his pre-match press conference, ahead of the FA Cup fifth round clash with non-league Sutton United, that he harboured ambitions of staying in the game regardless of whether he decides to remain at the Emirates Stadium or not.
Wenger: "No matter what happens, I will manage next season whether that is here or somewhere else."— James Olley (@JamesOlley) February 17, 2017
A two-year contract extension is rumoured to be sitting on the table ready for Wenger to sign, but doubts have surfaced about Wenger's future in north London following another turbulent winter period that has seen the club's Premier League title aspirations, as well as their Champions League hopes, go up in smoke.
Wenger celebrated 20 years in charge of Arsenal during the 2015/16 campaign, and has ended the club's 11 year wait for silverware by winning successive FA Cups in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
The veteran manager, though, could now opt for pastures new at fan unrest grew exponentially after his side's drubbing at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday evening.
Arsene Wenger: "Even if I go, Arsenal will still lose games. The club will need to make the right decision."— Scott Saunders (@_scottsaunders) February 17, 2017
Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright had claimed that Wenger had told him of his plan to call time on his two decade long association with the club after he had grown tired of the pressures placed on him, and insisted that his former boss was "coming to the end" of his tenure.
Wright had said: "I get the impression that that's it. He looks tired. You just feel that he looks winded. I feel that he will go at the end of the season.
"He actually mentioned that he is coming to the end. I have never heard him say that before. I was with him for a few hours. He didn't say to me, 'I'm leaving at the end of the season', but I get the impression, looking at him, that that's it."
If Wenger opts to leave Arsenal, it would be a significant blow to the club's hopes of holding onto star talent such as Mesut Ozil, who is believed to waiting on Wenger's decision before putting pen-to-paper on his own contract.
Wenger joined Arsenal in September 1996 from Japanese side Nagoya Grampus Eight to universal skepticism from Gunners supporters and the general footballing community alike. However, a Premier League and FA Cup double in 1997, coupled with Wenger's attacking, possession-based philosophy quickly won over the Arsenal faithful, and it is only in recent years that Arsenal fan dissatisfaction has grown in England's captial.
In total, Wenger has won 57% of the 1,129 games in charge of Arsenal, and has landed 13 trophies during his time with the club.
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