Saturday 19 August 2017

Arsenal target Premier League success after settling Arsene Wenger's future

Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger signed a two-year contract to remain as Arsenal boss on Wednesday as the club's hierarchy demanded a sustained push for the Premier League title.

The 67-year-old had been expected to extend his more than 20-year reign at Arsenal and confirmation came from the club on Wednesday afternoon.

Wenger had come in for fierce criticism from pundits, supporters and former players during the second half of last season as Arsenal slipped out of the Premier League top four and were thrashed 10-2 on aggregate by Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

A turnaround in form saw the club end the season with a run of nine wins out of 10, culminating with their record-breaking 13th FA Cup final success against Chelsea on Saturday but some fans were still keen for Wenger to depart having not won a Premier League title since the unbeaten 'Invincibles' season in 2004.

The Frenchman believes Arsenal are now in a strong position to challenge next year.

"We're committed to mounting a sustained league challenge and that will be our focus this summer and next season," he told Arsenal TV.

"They are of course unlimited, our ambitions. We live in a very competitive world where you need the support of the owner as well."

The club's majority shareholder and 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 club said in a statement that Wenger had been working on a "full review" of the club's activities alongside chief executive Ivan Gazidis.

While some question whether Wenger was handed a new deal out of misty-eyed loyalty, Gazidis insists that is not the case.

"The ambition is to put this club in a position where we are winning the Premier League, where we are competing to win in Europe and pushing forward," he said.

"This is not a sentimental decision, this is not a backwards-looking decision, this is all about looking forward.

"Arsene does not look backwards, and neither does this club. We are looking forward and we are confident about the future with Arsene."

Meanwhile, Usmanov called on the board to give complete backing to Wenger in the quest for trophies - or risk tarnishing his long-standing reputation.

"I am pleased that Arsene Wenger will continue to manage Arsenal for the next two years as he is one of the very best coaches in Europe," he said.

"What is now of paramount importance is that he receives the full support of the board and majority shareholder. He has a great opportunity to deliver the success that the fans deserve and the legacy that his long contribution merits.

"However, without the right support there remains a real risk that his legacy will be tarnished. If the support is not forthcoming, we stand ready to step in and do everything we can to deliver success on and off the field."

Press Association

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