On the eve of a crucial game against Manchester City at the Emirates that could have a huge bearing on whether the club qualify for Champions League football next season, and with uncertainty still surrounding his future, the Arsenal manager claims it is still business as usual.
Players are being lined up – Arsenal are prepared to spend more than £100million on targets like Kylian Mbappe of Monaco, Alexandre Lacazette of Lyon, Marco Reus of Borussia Dortmund, Moussa Dembele of Celtic, Ross Barkley of Everton and Joe Hart from Torino, as well as bracing themselves for the possible loss of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.
Arsene Wenger has still not settled his own future, which he has said will be decided on the basis of results in the next month, but it is likely he will sign the two-year extension to his contract on offer. And he is being honest with the players they are trying to recruit.
“Players will ask if I will still be here,” he said. “Arsenal is a world brand today, respected all over the world, and the Arsenal name is bigger than my name. Arsenal is more important than me. You don’t come to Arsene Wenger, you come to Arsenal.
“Of course we are planning for next season. But if I stay two months or 10 years, I do my job exactly the same.
“You can decide on which players you want to bring in. Players will usually want to know who they are playing for, but at the moment we are not in transfer mode.
“We analyse what we have to strengthen, but we are not in contract negotiations.”
Wenger has taken the Gunners into the Champions League for 19 successive seasons but, on the back of the worst run of his reign – six defeats in the last nine games – that record is in danger.
Arsenal go up against City six points away from the top four with 10 games left, and with matches against Tottenham, Manchester United and Everton still to come.
Yet at the age of 67, and after nearly 21 years in the job, Wenger is adamant he can still adapt, still learn and change his ways.
“It is a…