Arsenal midfielder Alex Iwobi has called on fans to show “more respect” toward Arsene Wenger and said he wants the under-fire manager to stay at the club.
Wenger is under massive pressure as Arsenal’s recent string of bad results have increased the calls from supporters for him to step down at the end of the season, when his contract expires. A few hundred fans have staged protest marches before Arsenal’s recent home games demanding that Wenger doesn’t sign a new deal, while differing banners flew over The Hawthorns during the Gunners’ 3-1 loss at West Brom last weekend.
But Iwobi, who came up through Arsenal’s academy and was promoted to the first team by Wenger last season, said the fans are too “impatient.”
“They need to have a bit more respect in my opinion,” Iwobi told the Daily Mail after playing for Nigeria in their draw with Senegal in a friendly on Thursday. “I mean, he’s been at the club for 20 years, he’s achieved a lot, obviously they’re a bit impatient with the results and where they want to finish.
“We also want to finish there, we want to win the league like anyone else, I can guarantee we are trying our hardest. Whatever happens we are the players, we affect the result. We don’t really look at the banners or what fans are screaming, we focus on trying to do our jobs on the pitch.”
Wenger said after the West Brom game that he knows what he will do in the future and would announce it “very soon.” But Iwobi insisted that even the players are still in the dark as to whether he will stay on.
“Honestly, I’m waiting as much as you guys are. I don’t know exactly what’s going on. But me, personally, I’d like him to stay,” Iwobi said. “No matter who is in the job, or who gets the role, we’re always going to fight for the manager, every player always gives 100 percent, no matter what, we’ll just play.
“He always backs our players and he is a great man. He’s been great to me as well, I’ll always back him, no matter what. For what he’s done for me, I’d like to say thank you, for bringing me into such a world class team, and I’m playing almost regularly.”
Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal also said Wenger should “ideally” continue as manager, but admitted that the uncertainty surrounding the club “does not help.”
Star duo Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil are yet to sign long-term contract extensions, and Monreal said they are waiting to see what Wenger does before making decisions on their own futures.
“For Arsenal as a team and as a club, ideally everyone should continue. But today these are the circumstances: the coach finishes his contract and has not yet communicated whether he continues or not, then there are two important players like Alexis and Mesut who finish their contracts next season and they are waiting for the coach to follow,” Monreal told Goal.
“It is a situation of uncertainty, and that does not help. But it is not in our hands either. I have a couple of years left at Arsenal. I am very happy there, I feel very valued in the team, and I am quite fine.”