Friday 24 November 2017

Kroenke to show his support

Jeremy Wilson

Stan Kroenke, Arsenal's billionaire owner, will reaffirm his support for Arsene Wenger this week when he flies into London for a meeting with the club's manager and the rest of the board.

Saturday's 2-0 FA Cup defeat against Sunderland has effectively condemned Arsenal to another trophy-less season, but the message from Kroenke is that the club must now remain unified and focused on securing a 16th consecutive top-four finish.

The Arsenal directors will hold a regular board meeting on Thursday, with Kroenke and Wenger both due to attend. Recent disappointments are certain to be addressed but also the club's longer-term plans and the release next week of their half-yearly accounts. They will show profits of around £55m -- and it has been made clear to Wenger that the money is available to enhance or overhaul the squad this summer.

Although Wenger (pictured) and chief executive Ivan Gazidis run Arsenal on a day-to-day basis, Kroenke does remain closely involved with key decisions and is acutely aware of the current unrest among supporters.

The consistent message on Wenger from Kroenke and the rest of the board is that his position is not contingent on finishing in the top four. Wenger, though, acknowledges that it would be a "disaster" for the club to lose their Champions League status and has said that he would only consider his position if he personally felt that he had underachieved.

Arsenal are well aware that Wenger would be a leading candidate at Real Madrid if Jose Mourinho does leave this summer and club sources have privately dismissed suggestions that there are plans this summer to invite the Frenchman into a boardroom position at the Emirates. Wenger, who will be 63 later this year, has consistently said that he intends to honour his contract that expires in 2014 and, on Saturday, he indicated that he personally wants to oversee an Arsenal revival.

(© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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