Arsene Wenger verbally agrees new 2yr contract to stay at Arsenal

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Ut_HKthATH4eww8X4xMDoxOjA4MTsiGNArsène Wenger has agreed a new two-year contract to remain Arsenal manager until at least 2019, extending his tenure at the club into an unprecedented 23rd season.

The deal, worth around £8?million a year, was finalised with majority owner Stan Kroenke in the 72 hours after his record-breaking seventh FA cup win on Sunday and formally ratified at a board meeting on Tuesday that also reviewed a season that ended on a high but culminated with a lowest Premier League finish under Wenger of fifth.

As revealed by Telegraph Sport ahead of the final Premier League game of the season against Everton, Wenger paved the way for staying after being reassured that changes proposed to the sporting structure by chief executive Ivan Gazidis would not impact on his core decision making.

 

 
 

The Cup final was never going to be decisive in Kroenke and Wenger’s decision and, although there is a desire now to address what went so wrong in February and March, the overall context of three FA Cup wins in four years and league positions of fourth, third, second and fifth in that time were also taken into account, as was the wider atmosphere around the club.

 

Wenger complained of a “horrendous psychological” environment for his players this season, with some fans having launched protests before games and even twice flown a banner over the ground. He was especially hurt at the abuse he and some players received during and after the Crystal Palace defeat last month. “The lack of respect at some stage has been, for me, a disgrace and I will never accept that,” said Wenger. “There’s a difference between being criticised and being treated in a way human beings don’t deserve to be treated.” 

Kroenke has been hugely impressed at how Wenger still turned the season around and his former defender, Martin Keown, said on Tuesday that the Frenchman’s resilience was often underestimated. “This guy is a fighter,” Keown told the BBC. “He told me he was fighting every day in the playground at school. He is a scrapper and a survivor – more of a fighter and scrapper than people will ever think.” 

 

The reservations among many fans about the new contract, however, were reflected on Tuesday in a series of questions that were posed by the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust. They want to know why the Wenger announcement was not made earlier, whether this will be his last contract, if the contract was unanimously agreed by the directors and what succession plans are in place. 

 

They also want more detail following fan meetings with Gazidis and his promise that this summer should be a “catalyst for change”. Gazidis has followed that up by looking at candidates for a new sporting director/operations role to coordinate and streamline the work around Wenger on issues ranging from scouting and medicine to youth development and analytics. 

It has been a sensitive subject for Wenger, who openly mocked the purpose of a director of football but was reassured after being told that his key powers – coaching, picking the team and directing the transfer strategy – would not be affected. He also did not want any of his staff to leave against his will, although there is expected to be a minor shake-up this summer to the backroom team. Full details of wider structural changes will not be announced on Wednesday.

Arsene Wenger signs new Arsenal contract, but will anything change?

 

02:14

 

Although there has clearly been some tension over the best way forward, Gazidis and Wenger have been working together closely in recent weeks and that partnership is poised to continue as is transfer negotiator Dick Law. 

If Wenger does go on until the end of the 2018-19 season, he would easily pass Sir Alex Ferguson’s all-time record of 810 Premier League games. Wenger has won 676 of his 1,175 games as Arsenal manager since 1996, a win percentage of 57.5 per cent that has actually not dipped in the second half of his tenure.

 

Tuesday’s board meeting was attended by Wenger, Kroenke, his son Josh, Gazidis, chairman Sir Chips Keswick, as well as directors Ken Friar, Lord Harris of Peckham and the club secretary, David Miles.

As well as Wenger’s position, the approach to the transfer window and key contract negotiations were discussed on Tuesday. Wenger has said the club need to keep “90 per cent” of the squad together and then make one or two key signings seriously to challenge to win the Premier League. 

 

They have already signed Schalke’s Sead Kolasinac but, as well as Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez, they are facing contract negotiations with a series of other players who have only one year remaining, notably Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wojciech Szczesny, Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs and Mathieu Debuchy.

Arsenal are ready to offer both Özil and Sánchez deals of around £280,000 a week. Sánchez is attracting interest from a series of clubs, including Manchester City and Chelsea in the Premier League and Paris St-Germain, Bayern Munich and Juventus across Europe. Oxlade-Chamberlain’s situation is being monitored by Liverpool and, although there is little chance of Héctor Bellerín leaving this summer, Barcelona are interested.

-telegraph.co.uk

 

ABOUT: Nana Kwesi Coomson

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A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morgan

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