Arsene Wenger has flatly denied reports that he remains in close contact with AS Monaco after discussing a £10 million-a-year deal in the summer.
Reports in The Mail claimed that the Arsenal manager explored the possibility of leaving the Emirates Stadium after winning the FA Cup to return to the club he managed between 1987 and 1994. Monaco were prepared to pay him £10 million-a-year tax free, or around £190,000-a-week.
Wenger's commitment to Arsenal has rarely come under question during his 18-years in charge, but it is now generally accepted that the Frenchman came close to leaving as his contract moved into its final weeks this summer. According to various reports, Wenger would have stepped down had Arsenal lost their FA Cup final against Hull City.
Having won the trophy, ending a nine-year drought, Wenger promised to lead Arsenal into a new era of success, but it appears he had already sorted his next career step should he have left. As a loyal man, it is no surprise he considered a return to the club that gave him his first opportunity in management.
The 64-year-old moved to deny the rumours immediately after stepping into the conference room for Arsenal's pre-match presser ahead of Saturday's game against Hull City. The statement was designed to stop inevitable questions from curious reporters.
He told journalists: "Before we start, I can tell you the story about Monaco that somebody brought out is totally untrue, so you don't need to ask me the question."
Wenger eventually signed a three-year deal worth £8 million-a-year with the Gunners and showed ambition to surge the Gunners back into Premier League title contention by spending more than ever before in the summer transfer window.
His contract may be his last before he finally decides to retire, but Wenger insisted his will to succeed is still sky high.
Up for the fight
"I'm ready to fight for as long as I can," he added. "One quality you need to have is to fight.
"As long as I am capable to do it I will do it."
Wenger later attended Arsenal's annual general meeting and gave an impassioned speech on how he intends to move his team forward. He also got fans excited by revealing he will try to sign a defender in the January transfer window after failing to do so in the summer.
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