Arsenal board likely to give Wenger two more years

LONDON • Arsenal are set to rubber-stamp a new contract for Arsene Wenger at a board meeting today after their manager made it clear that he wants to stay at the English football club.

The Times of London revealed a year ago that Stan Kroenke, the majority owner, had prepared a two-year deal for Wenger to sign at his convenience. The Frenchman is expected to do that this week, extending his remarkable period in charge of the London outfit to 23 years.

The American businessman will attend today's board meeting - having visited the Arsenal dressing room to offer congratulations to Wenger after Saturday's 2-1 FA Cup final win over Chelsea - but it is expected to be an informal affair.

The board will also discuss making structural changes, which have been championed by Ivan Gazidis, the chief executive, who wants to strengthen the club's scouting and recruitment operation.

The manager has dismissed the idea of working under a director of football.

"I don't understand and I never did understand what it means," he said recently.

One source said there may be a compromise where a new recruit, a director of operations, is given responsibility for analytics and scouting but with Wenger given reassurance that he retains full control of first-team affairs.

WIN AGAINST BLUES SAYS IT ALL

The best presentation, watch the game and there can be no doubt.''

ARSENE WENGER, on how he would convince the club's directors to hand him a fresh contract.

Wenger made an impassioned plea to be kept on after the victory at Wembley, by urging Arsenal's board to watch a re-run of his seventh FA Cup win to banish any doubts about his suitability to lead the club forward.

Asked if he would speak to the directors, he said: "The best presentation, watch the game and there can be no doubt."

He has also been pushed to make changes to his back-room team, with Gerry Peyton, the goalkeeping coach, and Tony Colbert, the fitness coach, among those under pressure.

But, after 21 years at Arsenal, Wenger believes that he should have the final say on his assistants.

Arsenal players have given their backing to Wenger, with defender Per Mertesacker claiming that the FA Cup victory showed what they are still capable of under the Frenchman.

"He has been calm and quiet as he has always been when dealing with those situations," the German said. "I have to give him credit for that, because there were a lot of people saying he can't deliver any more.

"We're all waiting for Tuesday. There was great relief on Saturday night but it didn't feel as if it was the end. We don't know how the decision will go. I'm sure he wants to continue."

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 30, 2017, with the headline 'Arsenal board likely to give Wenger two more years'. Print Edition | Subscribe