Arsenal to offer Wenger new deal until 2014 - Exclusive
Published 22:45 17/04/10 By Steve Stammers
Arsene Wenger is to be offered a new contract that will keep him at Arsenal until 2014.
Wenger has 18 months left on his current deal, but Arsenal are determined to keep him at the Emirates for at least another four years.
If he accepts the offer and stays until its conclusion, the Frenchman would take his tenure as Gunners manager into its 18th year.
Unless the Premier League title race takes a remarkable twist, this season will be the fifth in succession that Arsenal have finished without a major trophy.
But the powers at the club acknowledge that they have enjoyed 10 successive seasons of lucrative Champions League football as well as three league titles and four FA Cup triumphs.
Wenger has also taken the Gunners to a Champions League Final in 2006, when they lost to Barcelona, and the 2000 UEFA Cup Final, when they were beaten by Galatasaray on penalties.
He has also recruited some of the best players from the continent during his reign – including Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit, Thierry Henry, Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie.
And for an outlay which is minimal compared to the cash spent by the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and, more recently, Manchester City, Wenger has been able to recoup that expenditure by selling the likes of Henry, Vieira, Petit and – most notably – Nicolas Anelka at a massive profit.
Talks about the new deal will commence at the end of the season.
It is hoped they will be concluded by October, when the last year of Wenger’s current agreement starts.
Wenger’s future will not be affected by the current power struggle at the club involving Uzbek billionaire Alisher Usmanov and American tycoon Stan Kroenke.
Uncertainty emerged again last week when Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith revealed she wanted to sell her 16 per cent shareholding in the club, valued at close to £90million.
Both Usmanov and Kroenke are close to the 30 per cent stake that will require them to make a takeover bid.
The favourite to make such a move is Kroenke, who can rely on the support of director Danny Fiszman and other like-minded shareholders.
If he makes a move next month, he will be able to buy the shares at the price of £8,500 each he paid 11 months ago rather than the £10,500, the current quoted price.
Arsenal want to maintain the stability and financial progress that has been evident under Wenger and the new deal will take him close to his 65th birthday.
That is when he may decide to retire from active management and take up the anticipated offer of a seat on the board.