Manager Arsene Wenger has called reports he is on verge on signing a new contract at Arsenal “absolutely false”.
The 66-year-old’s current deal at the Emirates Stadium expires at the end of the 2016-17 campaign, by which time he will have been in the hot-seat for over two decades.
There has been much talk about whether Wenger would stay after Arsenal again failed to deliver the Premier League despite sitting top of the table at the turn of the year.
A number of supporters’ groups have protested about wanting change but, at the end of Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Manchester City which all-but-assured the Gunners of a top-three finish and confirming a 19th straight season in the Champions League, the fans were heard chanting the Frenchman’s name.
Reports on Friday suggested he was close to agreeing a two-year extension to his current deal, but Wenger vehemently dismissed the claims when asked about them during his press conference ahead of Sunday’s final league game at home to Aston Villa.
“That’s completely wrong,” he said. “I don’t know where this information comes from. You can treat that as just an invention and no more. It’s absolutely false. I would like the press to check this information with myself or the club before they give it out. We both would have denied it.
“I think about the next game. At my stage you want to do well. I’m committed with integrity and commitment, full commitment to the club as long as I’m under contract, but at the moment that’s all.”
Wenger has always said he would not depart this summer as he wants to at least honour his current deal.
He went on to say that how his side gets on next year would play a huge part in determining whether or not he then seeks an additional deal or walks away.
Asked if next season would be decisive for whether he stays, Wenger replied: “Of course, you sum it up very well.”
He added: “What I focus on is respecting my contract and then envisage what I will do afterwards. I can understand people are interested in that, but that is not the most important thing.
“I extended my contract in a period that was vital for the club and after that I will see where I am personally and where the club stands at the end of my contract.”