Arsene Wenger Given Arsenal Board’s Backing At Agm
Arsene Wenger can still “take Arsenal forward” and his future will be discussed “at an appropriate time”, chairman Sir Chips Keswick says.
Wenger is inside the final year of his current deal and has repeatedly said he will not consider his future until the end of the season.
The Arsenal boss was given a standing ovation at the club’s Annual General Meeting on Monday when he was presented with a portrait by majority shareholder Stan Kroenke to mark his 20 years in charge.
And when a question from the floor broached the subject of a new contract Keswick, quoted by the Daily Mirror, said: “We all recognise the fantastic contribution Arsene has made to club in the last 20 years.
“We are confident about his ability to take us forward. We will sit down and discuss the future at the appropriate time but our focus is on maintaining the current run and competing for trophies.”
Recent Arsenal AGMs have been marked by unrest among shareholders but Wenger was warmly received as he vowed to fight for a Premier League title he believes will be won with “between 82 and 86 points”.
He said: “I believe the team has the commitment, togetherness, hunger, desire and unity and we have a good chance to compete for the Premier League.
“Our challenge is to compete for everything because I believe we have a squad that is more mature and better equipped to cope with all the challenges we have.
“That is the target and I am absolutely committed to fulfil and give my best so that we are successful until the end of the season. Let’s meet these challenges together.”
Other subjects raised included the possibility of safe standing – “Arsenal retain an open mind”, according to chief executive Ivan Gazidis – supporters leaving the Emirates before full-time and the prospect of keeping star men Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.
Both are out of contract in 2018 and Gazidis said: “We have a good track record in recent seasons of retaining our key players, developing young players and attracting new players.
“I can’t get into a discussion on individual players but can assure you we will apply the same focus, rigour and diligence to members of our current squad and I think you can see the direction of travel.”