In case you missed it (due to The Takeover interrupting our regular schedule), Arsenal's Annual General Meeting, AGM, for short, was yesterday. In this meeting, the board, Ivan Gazidis, and Arsene Wenger, among others, prepare presentations and speak to the club's shareholders, and others, about the state of the club. Every year, the boss gives a pep talk to supporters. Considering the club's situation at this time of the year in recent seasons, sometimes, the atmosphere is more testy, sometimes less. No matter what the situation though, it's nearly universally agreed that Wenger really knocks his speech out of the park, year after year.
Instead of focusing on the meat of what he said (a full transcript of which you can read here), writers and Twitterers have zeroed in two sentences near the end of the speech. The offending sentences are as follows:
I am resolute to commit absolutely until the last day of my contract to bring back big success to this club, and leave as well one day in a position where it can do even better when I leave. It is for me very important that I leave the club in the shape that the guy who comes after me can do better.
Many have taken this as a sign that Arsene is going to call it quits when his current contract ends in May 2017. Is that really what he was saying though?
The words "last day of my contract" seem to be sparking this whole debate. Did Arsene mean his current contract? Maybe. Could he have also meant his next contract? Possibly! Contracts can also "end early" if there's a clause about say, retirement, included. Could he mean that we're going to win the league and he's going to ride off into the sunset on top of the (English) world? I hope so!
The English language is awful and vague. Absent a telepathic peek into Wenger's brain, there's no way of knowing whether this was a huge hint or just a boilerplate turn of phrase praising his own work ethic.
Judging by recent contract negotiations with the club, it seems most likely that Arsene will continuously evaluate himself and the club, leaving us wondering for the next 8 months to 5+ years what he's going to do. Wenger turns 66 in less than a week. Sir Alex retired at 71 and none of us expected it when he did. There's certainly a reasonable chance that he'll retire after this contract, but this quote doesn't make it any more a certainty than before.