Thursday 23 November 2017

Arsene Wenger winning his power battle at Arsenal as he prepares to sign new contract

Arsene Wenger is out of contract this summer
Arsene Wenger is out of contract this summer
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Arsene Wenger appears to be ready to give the green light to a shake-up at the club, as he prepares to accept a diluted role to remain as Arsenal manager for the next two years.

Arsenal chiefs have been eager to enforce a shake-up of Wenger’s back room staff, as well as the appointment of an influential figure who will assist in the recruitment of players and overseen contract negotiations.

Wenger was initially hostile to any attempt to break the stranglehold he has had over the club in recent years, but the 67-year-old has softened his approach in recent days and now looks ready to find a middle ground in a bid to break the tension that has built up with chief-executive Ivan Gazidis and chairman Chips Keswick.

The thousands of empty seats in evidence at Emirates Stadium for last Tuesday’s game against Sunderland was vivid evidence of the disillusionment among Arsenal supporters towards the manager, with club chiefs hoping the changes they are implementing will placate fans who are not happy with Wenger’s continued stay.

Wenger has confirmed that a final decision on his future at Arsenal will not be made before next weekend’s FA Cup final against Chelsea, but he appeared to be relaxed about the planned changes in the club structure when he spoke to the media on Friday.

“I am always open to things that improve the quality and the future of the club,” stated Wenger. “Of course we sometimes need help to become better. I am always open to open that.”

Wenger is now expected to sign a new two-year contract to remain as Arsenal manager and it seems he has won a power battle with Gazidis to ensure he continues to have full control over transfers and matters relating to the first team squad.

Arsenal are keen to move towards a position that they hope will ensure the transition towards Wenger’s successor is made easier by altering the club’s structure to ensure their manager does not have such potent influence in all areas of the club.

It remains to be seen how Arsenal supporters who are keen to see Wenger replaced as manager will react to this news, with their mood on this issue likely to be affected by the result of the FA Cup final next Saturday.

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