Wenger: Arsenal fans 'will influence' my future at the club

Premier League

Wenger: Arsenal fans 'will influence' my future at the club

Bayern Munich's comprehensive 10-2 thrashing of Arsenal in the Champions League Round of 16 has increased fan disillusion with Arsene Wenger's reign

Hannah McKay

REUTERS

Bayern Munich's comprehensive 10-2 thrashing of Arsenal in the Champions League Round of 16 has increased fan discontent with Arsene Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will take into consideration the views of the club's divided fan base before deciding whether to extend his 20-year reign at the north London side.

'It will influence. But it won't be the most important factor,' Wenger told reporters on Thursday when asked if protests would affect the decision on his future.

Bayern humiliation heapes pressure on Wenger

Criticism of Wenger has grown more vociferous this week after Arsenal crashed out the Champions League in the last-16 for a seventh straight season with a 10-2 aggregate defeat by Bayern.

His alleged fall-out with Chilean forward Alexis Sánchez further exacerbated the situation.

Arsenal supporters staged protests calling for Wenger, who is out of contract at the end of the season, to leave prior to Tuesday's 5-1 home hammering at the hands of Bayern Munich. A glimpse at 'Arsenal Fan TV' demonstrates how divisive the Frenchman's tenure has become.

Arsenal fans protest against Arsene Wenger'Wenger Out' demonstrations ahead of Arsenal v Bayern

Some elements of the 'Wenger Out' camp even accused the manager of 'killing' the club. Although their frustrations about stagnation are understandable, this seems a touch hyperbolic, especially in the context of the grave plight of other English clubs such as Blackpool and Leyton Orient.

When the chips are down

Arsenal chairman Chips Keswick, a figure who often remains behind the scenes, acknowledged that fans were entitled to their opinions.

'Arsene has a contract until the end of the season. Any decisions will be made by us mutually and communicated at the right time in the right way,' Keswick told the club's website. 'We respect that fans are entitled to their different individual opinions but we will always run this great football club with its best long-term interests at heart.'

The Arsenal boss was bullish in his rejection of the notion that he would be tarnishing his legacy if he prolonged his stay. 'I don't work for my image, I work for this club. How I look is not really my problem,' he said.

Arsenal v BayernArsene Wenger with Assistant Manager Steve Bould

Champions League qualification record at risk

A run of three defeats in four Premier League games that has seen the club drop outside the top four has also not helped Wenger's cause. Arsenal have finished in the Champions League positions for 20 consecutive seasons. The prospect of Arsenal making it 21 consecutive years appears precarious, as the evolution from a 'Top 4' to a 'Top 6' in the Premier League becomes crystallised.

The Gunners have a golden chance to put their painful Champions League exit behind them as they prepare for Saturday's FA Cup quarter-final at home to non-league Lincoln City

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