Wenger again reaffirms his commitment to Arsenal
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has reaffirmed his commitment to the club after being linked with a move to Real Madrid.
Wenger sparked speculation that he could be prepared to leave the Gunners this summer after admitting that working with the Spanish giants would be an "interesting project''.
But today the Frenchman said there could be little doubt about his dedication to the Arsenal cause.
"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 told Arsenal's website.
Asked whether that meant he would still be at the Emirates Stadium next season, he added: "I do not have to repeat every week exactly the same thing.''
Wenger said he still felt the club were on the up and even made a point of mocking Real's recent record in Europe.
"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.''
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.''
Reports have suggested that the striker has become disillusioned after another trophyless campaign for the Gunners, but Wenger was keen to defend his team's development over the last few seasons.
"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'' he said.
"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 highlighted the development of players like Niclas Bendtner as reasons why he would not have to drastically add to the squad this summer.
"We have one or two targets, we are analysing every position very well and the potential of the players we have, the improvement the players are capable of making for next season. We have a team that is on the way up, so we have to take that into account as well.
"We talk about the numbers for Bendtner, but if we had taken them from between July and December they would not have been as good - that means the player has moved forward. He will move again, and you have to analyse that before you make decisions which could stop the player developing.''
Wenger maintains Arsenal have not "stood still'' - and declared his young Gunners will "have a word to say'' again in the Premier League title race next season.
"We were in the Champions League final in 2006, the quarter-final last year and the semi-final this year. Last year we nearly won the [Premier League] championship, this year we did not - but we have not stood still in the last four years like many people have suggested,'' Wenger said.
"I know bigger clubs who have gone out in the last 16 of the Champions League in the last five years.
"The level of competition is very high in England, but I believe we will have a word to say next season.
Wenger added: "If you are a top player, when you are 23, then you normally start to perform at the level of the Champions League - these players have 40 or 50 Champions League games at 22 years old. They are much ahead of the programme here.''
Stoke boss Tony Pulis, his side now safe in the Premier League for another season, has revealed the bad blood which followed the fixture at Britannia Stadium back in November is now very much water under the bridge.
Wenger accused Stoke's players of trying to injure his own men during the 2-1 win for the Potters.
However, Pulis has revealed after he completed the London Marathon in April to raise money for a local hospice, Wenger wrote to him and included a signed Arsenal shirt to be raffled off.
The Gunners boss reflected: "We lost the game at Stoke because we did not deal well with their strong points.
"I believe on one or two occasions I saw tackles that were not quite clear - but on the day they were well organised, defended very well and took advantage of what they are strong at which is their throw-ins and their set pieces.''
However, Wenger insisted Sunday's encounter would be a much different affair.
He said: "We are ready. What people do not realise is how much this team has improved.
"Since November in the championship we have lost just one game, which for me was more down to the disappointment of the Champions League exit.
"We have a good opportunity to show how much we have improved against Stoke.
"It is very important to show out quality, finish well and start well again next season.
"I personally believe that this team which, considering the age of the whole squad, has done fantastically well since November.
"We were unlucky in one or two circumstances, but we have consistency and quality and the job is not finished with that team. It now starts.''