Another 2 years for Wenger at Arsenal

The Gunners boss has extended his stay at Emirates Stadium until at least 2019 despite numerous protests against his management from disgruntled fansArsenal have confirmed that manager Arsene Wenger has extended his contract at the club until 2019.

The Gunners made the announcement on Wednesday after Goal had earlier revealed that the Frenchman had agreed to two more seasons at the helm.

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The new deal for the man who has spent over 20 years at the club was approved after a private meeting between Wenger and majority shareholder Stan Kroenke in a secret location on Monday.

Details of the Frenchman’s contract were then confirmed 24 hours later in a boardroom meeting, and Goal understands that despite widespread talk of a Director of Football model, the structure of the club is set to remain the same.

GFX Arsene Wenger Arsenal extension

Wenger’s future has been shrouded in uncertainty for the entire 2016-17 season, with Arsenal finishing fifth in the Premier League table to accelerate rumours that a managerial change was going to take place.

It is the first time that the north Londoners have failed to qualify for the Champions League under Wenger – a competition that once again ended in disappointment for the Gunners in the current campaign after they were humiliated by Bayern Munich back in March.

Arsenal did, however, claim FA Cup glory after a 2-1 win over Chelsea, with the announcement over Wenger’s extension now having arrived four days after that success.

Demonstrations and protests from various fans against Wenger’s reign have been commonplace over the season, with the likes of Thomas Tuchel, the now unemployed former Dortmund manager, and Eddie Howe having been mooted as possible replacements.

But Wenger clearly maintains support at boardroom level and will now look to step up preparations for the 2017-18 season, with the club’s supporters undoubtedly keen to see their team challenge for the title.

Following the announcement of his extension, the Frenchman told the club’s official website: “I love this club and I am looking forward to the future with optimism and excitement. 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 Stan 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.”

Extending the contracts of star duo Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, who both have one year remaining on their current deals, will be a top priority for Wenger in the summer months.

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Goal understands that Manchester City are adamant that they will be able to lure Alexis to the Etihad Stadium and have held talks, with Bayern Munich having also been linked, while Ozil has also been continually linked with an exit.

Arsenal return for pre-season training in the first week of July before jetting off to Australia for matches against Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers respectively.

Arsenal slip-ups a worry for Wenger

Arsenal
manager
Arsene
Wenger has
said his
players do not
currently
possess the
ruthlessness
to challenge Chelsea and
Manchester City for the Premier
League title.
The Gunners were held to a 2-2
draw at home to Hull City on
Saturday and required a
stoppage-time equaliser from
England forward Danny Welbeck
to avoid losing the game.
That result left them 11 points
behind leaders Chelsea and six
behind reigning champions
Manchester City, with
Southampton, West Ham and
Manchester United also now
above them in the table.
Wenger made it clear he felt Hull
should have been beaten, and
that a lack of focus by
experienced players was the
main reason why Arsenal failed
to win.
“Of course I cannot say it’s not a
concern,” the veteran French
boss said on the subject of
Arsenal’s fading status as title-
contenders.
“It’s a big concern because the
other teams win their games and
we don’t.”
Wenger added: “It was a
disappointing afternoon because
we had 80 percent possession
and got one point.
“We had absolutely to win this
game and were unlucky with the
referee on the first goal but on
the second goal we can only
blame ourselves.
“We came out of the dressing
room with a lack of focus and
gave them (Hull) the lead straight
away. After, it was difficult. “I
cannot fault the effort or the
heart that we put in the game
but the defensive concentration
was missing on the second goal
and at that level you cannot give
goals away like that.”
The man at fault for the second
goal, which arrived 35 seconds
into the second half, was World
Cup-winner Per Mertesacker,
with the Germany centre-back
allowing Abel Hernandez to head
in a cross from the right from
Tom Huddlestone despite a
significant height advantage.
Earlier, Mohamed Diame had
cancelled out Alexis Sanchez’s
13th-minute opener with a goal
Arsenal were convinced should
have been disallowed for a foul
in the build-up on Mathieu
Flamini.
“The first goal is for the referee,”
Wenger added. “The second one
is for us and I told the players
that.
“They had two shots on goal in
the whole game. It’s difficult to
score three goals against any
team in the world,” added
Wenger, whose side did just that
to come from 2-0 down to defeat
Hull 3-2 in last season’s FA Cup
final.
Hull manager Steve Bruce insisted
it was a measure of the progress
his club had made in the last few
years that they were annoyed
not to win.
“The players are disappointed
because they’ve gone close again
and the frustration is that it’s
happened four times to us now
this season, conceding late on,”
he said.
“But we are disappointed
because we could only take a
point from Arsenal.
“I’ve been here before with
teams where they’ve played the
reserves and we’ve been beaten
by six or five and gone away
with our tails between our legs.
We’ve done extremely well to get
a point.
“In the last six months we have
played Arsenal twice, taken them
on twice — it took extra-time for
them to beat us in the Cup final
and to come here and play just
shows what strides we have
made.”
At least Arsenal did not suffer any
new injuries ahead of
Wednesday’s Champions League
game with Anderlecht in
Belgium.
Midfielder Jack Wilshere had to
be taken off after hurting himself
in a challenge that saw him
booked, but Wenger declared
him to be available “if selected”.
Hull saw goalkeeper Steve Harper
and defender Michael Dawson
sustain injuries, having had to
shelve plans to start with
Hernandez on the bench when
Nikica Jelavic pulled up in the
warm-up.
“The goalkeeper looks as though
he’s torn a muscle in his bicep,
Jelavic has got a badly-twisted
knee and Dawson’s ankle is the
size of a basketball, ” said Bruce,
now set to recall goalkeeper
Mark Oxley from a loan spell at
Hibernian to replace Harper, who
was deputising for injured first-
choice Allan McGregor