Friday 24 November 2017

Arsenal expect Arsène Wenger to sign new deal and snub Paris Saint-Germain, claims chief executive Ivan Gazidis

Arsene Wenger will snub PSG in favour of Arsenal
Arsene Wenger will snub PSG in favour of Arsenal

Jim van Wijk

ARSENAL chief executive Ivan Gazidis is confident manager Arsene Wenger still has the desire to drive the Gunners on to success once more - and is in it for "the long term".

Wenger, 63, is heading towards the final season of his current contract and has been linked with taking charge at big-spending Ligue 1 side Paris St Germain.

However, after helping guide Arsenal back into a top-four finish in the Barclays Premier League and with it another shot at the Champions League, Gazidis is in no doubt Wenger remains the right man to take the club forward as they prepare to strengthen the squad during the summer for a long-overdue sustained assault on the title next season.

"We think we have got a fantastic manager. We hope that he wants to do what he is doing for the long term. I believe he does," Gazidis told journalists from the board room of Highbury House.

"I think he is still ambitious, still driven and sees the potential of the club as he looks forward and I think he is very excited by that.

"We have a great relationship and he has a great relationship with the board as well.

"So, quietly and at the right time I think we will make an announcement on that when things are all put in place."

Wenger has always stated he would honour his contract, and that any negotiations on a possible future deal must not distract from efforts of the team to bring to an end what is fast approaching a decade without silverware since Patrick Vieira lifted the FA Cup in 2005.

While careful not to be drawn on any timescale, Gazidis indicated the vibes were positive.

"We have got a lot of confidence in Arsene that he is the right person to take the club forward and I think he will want to do that," he said.

"We think we have got a fantastic manager who has seen us through moving to a new stadium, which is for many clubs a difficult period, with consistency and so we think we have got the right person to make the kinds of choices and decisions that we are going to have over this really significant period of the club's development."

Arsenal yesterday confirmed the expected departures of Andrey Arshavin, Denilson and Sebastien Squillaci which along with the off loading of several other surplus fringe players - such as Marouane Chamakh, Nicklas Bendtner and Korean forward Park Chu-young - will help to free-up the wage bill for new additions.

Wenger has already begun his summer rebuilding plans, pushing through a deal for France Under-21 forward Yaya Sanogo, on a free from Auxerre.

Wayne Rooney has also been linked should the England striker be allowed to leave Manchester United, while Arsenal are said to be tracking Real Madrid frontman Gonzalo Higuain.

Celtic midfielder Victor Wanyama, defensive duo Ashley Williams, at Swansea, and Borussia Dortmund's Lukasz Piszczek are reported defensive targets, along with Matthias Ginter from Freiburg.

Juventus' midfielder Paul Pogba, who moved to Serie A last summer on a free from Manchester United, and Bayern Munich's David Alaba are also options as Arsenal, boosted by improved commercial deals, look to add high-calibre reinforcements.

Despite Arsenal maintaining their remarkable record of finishing within the top four once again, Gazidis accepts that on its own cannot be enough.

Arsenal crashed out of the Capitol One Cup to Bradford, and then lost in the FA Cup at home to Blackburn, with their European hopes ended by Bayern Munich despite a valiant second-leg win in Germany.

"We want to be competing at the top of the game and in order to do that you have to be in the Champions League, so we are pleased to qualified, or at least, for the qualification games," he said.

"But it is not ultimately where we want to be with moving the club forward.

"We want to be a club that is competing at the very top end of the game and that means competing to win the Premier League and competing to win the Champions League."

Gazidis added: "The critical thing now as we look ahead over the next season and the season after is our developing financial capability which will give us a lot more options than in recent years."

Press Association

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