Arsene Wenger insists he has not privately made up his mind on his future but will consider fans opinion when he decides whether or not to leave Arsenal in the summer.
Wenger’s contract expires at the end of the season but, while he reportedly has a new offer on the table, the Frenchman says he will not make a verdict until then.
Gunners supporters staged a protest against Wenger’s leadership ahead of their humiliating 5-1 Champions League second-leg defeat to Bayern Munich on Tuesday, which amounted to a record 10-2 aggregate defeat.
And, asked ahead of the FA Cup quarter-final with Lincoln, whether their thoughts would have any bearing on his choice, Wenger said: “Yes.”
“Of course you consider everything. It won’t be the most important factor, but I will consider it of course.”
The fan protest, which amounted to a few hundred people out of the tens of thousands that attended the Emirates, was also put to Wenger, but he insisted he did not want to judge their opinion.
“I work very hard for 25 years to make the fans happy. I understand they are not when we lose,” he said.
“I don’t want to judge that. I am not able to. I’ve said many times you have to accept different opinions.
“I don’t work for my image. I work for the club with full commitment. How will I be judged? It’s not too much my problem.”
“I think I have shown since I am here that I love this club, that I’m loyal to this club and I make the right decisions for this club, and I will continue to do that, in respecting the values that are vital to me.”
Later on Thursday, Arsenal chairman Sir Chips Keswick released a rare statement reiterating that a decision on Wenger’s future will be made “mutually”.
“We are fully aware of the attention currently focused on the club and understand the debate,” the statement read.
“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.
“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.”