Wenger signs new contract with Arsenal
Arsene Wenger has signed a new two-year contract to remain as Arsenal manager, the FA Cup winners have announced.
Speculation over the Frenchman’s future has been rife in recent months but despite a backdrop of supporter unrest, he has now committed to the club with a fresh deal that will extend his reign to almost 23 years.
Wenger, 67, had come in for criticism after a run of seven defeats in 12 games saw the Gunners drop out of the Premier League title race and suffer humiliation in the Champions League as they were thrashed 10-2 on aggregate by Bayern Munich.
But it was confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that he will remain in his role until at least 2019.
“Arsenal Football Club and Arsene Wenger have agreed a two-year extension to his contract as manager,” a statement on the Arsenal website read.
“Arsene and chief executive Ivan Gazidis have conducted a full review of our on and off the pitch activities to identify areas for improvement to build a sustained title challenge.”
Wenger said he was optimistic for the future and said work was under way to plan for a title challenge next season – with Arsenal having not lifted the Premier League trophy in 13 years.
“I love this club and I am looking forward to the future with optimism and excitement,” the Frenchman said.
“We are looking at what we do well and how we can be stronger everywhere.
“This is a strong group of players and with some additions we can be even more successful. We’re committed to mounting a sustained league challenge and that will be our focus this summer and next season.
“I am grateful to have the support of the board and (majority owner) Stan (Kroenke) in doing everything we can to win more trophies. It’s what we all want and I know it’s what our fans around the world demand.”
Arsenal’s majority owner Stan Kroenke, who rebuffed a takeover bid from Russian billionaire and minority shareholder Alisher Usmanov last week, hailed Wenger as the best man for the job as he too targeted more silverware.
“Our ambition is to win the Premier League and other major trophies in Europe,” he said.
“It’s what the fans, players, staff, manager and board expect and we won’t rest until that is achieved.
“Arsene is the best person to help us make that happen. He has a fantastic track record and has our full backing.”
The ‘full review’ conducted by Wenger and Gazidis is likely to have involved conversations about restructuring the backroom department at the club.
Wenger has always insisted he would never work alongside a director of football and it remains to be seen if any of his coaching staff are replaced.