It is being widely reported that Arsene Wenger has verbally agreed a two-year contract extension at Arsenal and an official announcement will be made on Wednesday, keeping him at the club until 2019.
The Telegraph have stated that following a board meeting at Arsenal today, Wenger will be ratified as the club’s manager for a further two years having been offered the deal by majority shareholder, Stan Kroenke.
While changes are expected to be made at board level at the club following a disappointing season which was somewhat salvaged with Sunday’s FA Cup final win, in particular in the role of sporting director, the Frenchman is set to retain all his core powers as manager at the club including coaching, team selection and transfer strategy.
This news comes following months of speculation over whether or not the 67-year-old would call time on his lengthy career at the North London club at the end of this season. Wenger first took to the Arsenal dugout in 1996, with this new deal seeing him into his 23rd season with the Gunners.
The Cup win on Sunday is not said to have been a decisive factor on the Gunners boss’s future and many fans, as well publicised on ArsenalFanTV throughout the season, claimed winning just one domestic cup this campaign was not enough to spare Wenger of his job. This was after exiting the Champions League on an aggregate scoreline of 10-2 to Bayern Munich at the last 16 stage and failing to finish in the top four of the league to qualify for next season’s edition of Europe’s top club competition.
Probably most gut-wrenching of all for loyal Arsenal supporters who believed the Frenchman’s reign at the helm was all but finished was the fact that for the first time in his tenure at the club, bitter local rivals Tottenham finished above them in the league.
The fallout amongst Arsenal supporters from the decision to keep Wenger on should prove entertaining for outsiders looking in, but many Gunners fans themselves will be tearing their hair out at the prospect of a further two seasons under the current longest serving manager in the Premier League.
Planes with ‘Wenger Out’ signs attached were flown above the Emirates in recent weeks as the drive to see the most successful manager in the club’s history walk away hit fever pitch.
Whether this news will see Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil stay with Wenger or leave Arsenal remains to be seen, but both star players have contracts running out and will need to be negotiated with sooner rather than later.