LONDON, May 23 – Arsene Wenger has moved to silence speculation over his future after the Arsenal manager was linked with a move to Real Madrid.Wenger triggered reports that he could be prepared to leave the Gunners when he admitted that working at Real, if Florentino Perez wins the Spanish club’s upcoming presidental election, would be an "interesting project".
It was suggested that Wenger had shown interest in Real as a warning to Arsenal’s board that they should come clean about the lack of funds available for him for to sign new players.
But Wenger, who was also unhappy with criticism from fans at a recent shareholders meeting, held clear-the-air talks with Arsenal’s directors and said on Friday there could be little doubt about his dedication to the north London club.
"I have shown my commitment always to this club, in good and in bad times and in the worst times, but I don’t think that people can question my commitment," Wenger said on Friday.
"When you are in a job for a long time, as soon as you have a blip, people are not happy.
"Through my whole stay here I have had contacts with other clubs, but nothing ever comes out from my side. I cannot master what people say or what is written in the newspapers.
"I cannot deny every noise or contact I have. My commitment is as strong as ever and if one day it changes I will inform you."
Arsenal have gone four seasons without a trophy after falling at the semi-final stage of the Champions League and FA Cup this season, but Wenger believes his team’s record in Europe over the last few seasons is still better than Real Madrid’s.
"I do not have to repeat every week exactly the same thing. I believe we had recent disappointment but overall since eight months (ago) I’m very proud of the way the team has improved," he said.
"You speak about Real Madrid – they waste a lot of money and they have gone out in the last 16 of the Champions League for five consecutive years.
"We are very sorry that we haven’t won a trophy, but many clubs would be proud of the record we have in the last four years.
"With such a young team, if you consider the value of the team, the quality of the team and the investment we have made in the last four years, we do not have to be ashamed of the quality of the football we have shown.
"That is the most frustrating thing – the club is going in the right direction and we have to be strong enough to continue to do that."
Wenger also hit back at criticism of his players from Arsenal fans, who branded veteran France defender Mickael Silvestre a "geriatric".
"There are two things in our job. Criticism I accept with respect. Disrespect I don’t accept and don’t respect," Wenger said.
"Maybe one day you will have worked 25 years in the media and people demonstrate to you that you don’t understand anything in your job and maybe they are right, but you have to take a distance with that.
"I accept everyone’s opinion, but what was not enjoyable in that meeting was that it was disrespectful to some players and I don’t accept that.
"No matter even if you lose 38 games on the trot I won’t accept that."
Arsenal’s Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor has been linked with a move to AC Milan and Wenger admitted the situation was complicated.
Asked if he was confident Adebayor would stay, Wenger said: "Yes, but that depends as well. It’s very difficult to go into any individual assessment with that.
"The only things I can say is that Adebayor is under contract and he’s with Arsenal, and that’s it."