Wenger admits to 'mistake' over Arsenal's Premier League top four failure

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The Gunners boss has conceded that he let the "eternal" speculation regarding a possible contract extension drag on for too long in the 2016-17 season

Arsene Wenger admits it was a “mistake” to allow the “eternal” speculation regarding his future to drag on for so long in the 2016-17 season.

The Gunners boss spent much of the campaign fending off questions relating to his own expiring contract.

Amid the distracting saga, Arsenal’s form dipped and they eventually finished outside of the Champions League places for the first time under their French coach.

Wenger did commit to a new two-year deal after overseeing another FA Cup triumph, despite regular protests against his reign, and he concedes that he should have resolved the issue sooner.

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“For me it [this season] will be a change because [speculation 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.”

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Arsenal will have to make do with Europa League competition in 2017-18, having finished last season in fifth place.

Thursday night football is never easy to contend with, but the intention will be to force themselves back into Premier League title contention while challenging for honours on multiple fronts.

They have already drafted in Sead Kolasinac and Alexandre Lacazette to aid them in that quest, and Wenger admits there could be more arrivals to come before the summer transfer window slams shut.

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He added: "There are two ways to strengthen the squad - the first is to analyse where we have not done so well and where we can improve together, and the other way is to bring in players from outside.

"We are still open to strengthening our team with players coming from outside.

"We are very active on the transfer market and have already realised two incomings. We have to keep a balance as well, that you don’t destabilise the team too much by bringing in too many players.

"But we are still active on the transfer market so let’s see what kind of opportunities we can find."