Arsene Wenger says he will decide his Arsenal future at the end of the season, insisting his stance would not dent the club’s long-term plans.
While Wenger delays talks on a new deal to remain as Arsenal manager, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez are yet to commit their own futures to the Gunners.
But the Frenchman, who celebrated 20 years at the helm at the start of October, claims the future of his star players is not tied to his own.
Asked if the club’s senior management were happy with Wenger putting off his own contract deliberations, the 67-year-old replied: “Yes. I always said that I will judge where I stand in spring and make my decisions then.
“And the club is free as well. It’s not because I am here a long time that I have any rights. We are both in the same boat.”
Wenger let his contract situation run until the end of the 2013-14 campaign before signing his current three-year deal, which expires in the summer.
He remains happy to adopt a similar practice this time around too, rejecting any suggestions of a state of limbo unfolding at the Emirates Stadium.
Asked if his situation could affect the club’s long-term planning, Wenger said: “No. I don’t think so. There are plenty of managers who arrived at the end of their contract. It happened to me before. I signed sometimes in March, April for longer contracts. So I don’t think it’s a problem.
“I have worked everywhere I have been until the last day of my contract with total commitment. That’s why maybe I can go back everywhere I was, because people respect that.”
Wenger meanwhile believes Danny Welbeck’s return from a second serious knee injury in 18 months will be “almost like starting a new career”.
Welbeck is back in training for the first time in seven months following his knee cartilage injury in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw at Manchester City on May 8.
The England forward had only just returned from 10 months of problems with his left knee when suffering that fresh blow at the end of last term.
Aaron Ramsey is also on the comeback trail after hamstring trouble but remains doubtful for Boxing Day’s home Premier League clash with West Brom.
“There’s good news in that Welbeck will join in training today, for the first time having been out for a long time,” said Wenger. “I’m cautious with Ramsey but even more cautious with Welbeck because he’ll need some time.
“Of course it’s fantastic for him to be back, because for him it’s like starting a new career because he’s been out for such a long time. So we have to be patient.
“I don’t know if Ramsey will be involved [against West Brom] but he’s back in training today.”
Injury-plagued Wales playmaker Ramsey has featured just 10 times in all competitions for Arsenal this term and Wenger hopes one of his star men can finally shake off his litany of problems.
Asked if a fully-fit Ramsey could feel like a new signing, Wenger replied: “Yes, because because he’s not played many games, maybe only two since the start of the season.
“But let’s not be too premature, he’s had some setbacks and I hope this time he’ll be all right. He’s efficient offensively, has a high level of activity and is a complete box-to-box player.”