Arsene Wenger has admitted for the first time that his indecision over signing a new contract created a climate of instability last season.
The Frenchman chose to sign a two-year extension after Arsenal’s FA Cup triumph at the end of May after months of speculation that had resulted in almost daily questions about his future.
Reflecting on the situation, Wenger stressed that his commitment to the cause never faltered, however, the negativity air around the club, especially when the Gunners form collapsed in the early part of 2017, may have been exacerbated by the lack of clarity.
“For me it [this season] will be a change because [the question over my future] was a bit eternal, a repetition of the press conferences about that,” he told Arsenal Player.
“Maybe I made a mistake and allowed that to happen because I didn’t commit early enough.
“I think at some stage I did not think it would be a handicap for my commitment and it was not. But it was a bit of a handicap because it created a climate of insecurity and a lack of clarity about my person that maybe did not help at some stage.”
Ahead of penning his new deal in May, the boss suggested boardroom politics had played a part in the delay. He also, uncharacteristically, took a swipe at fans who’d questioned his ability.
He’s now hoping that the positive end to the last campaign can be replicated when the Premier League kicks off on 11 August.
“We basically had three seasons last year: the first part was very positive, the second part was very negative, and the third part was very positive.
“I believe it is important that we analyse well what happened to us, and where we can improve – and then transfer the optimistic final part of the season into the new campaign and start in a very strong way.”