Arsene Wenger has declared his love for Arsenal after extending his contract for a further two years.
Despite months of unrest among groups of Gunners fans, with many becoming frustrated about a perceived lack of progress under Wenger, the 67-year-old’s contract was ratified at a board meeting on Tuesday.
‘I love this club and I am looking forward to the future with optimism and excitement,’ Wenger said in a statement.
‘We are looking at what we do well and how we can be stronger everywhere. This is a strong group of players and with some additions we can be even more successful.
‘We’re committed to mounting a sustained league challenge and that will be our focus this summer and next season.’
Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke was a strong supporter of Wenger’s and the American owner emphasised Arsenal’s desire to challenge for the Premier League title once again, despite a fifth-placed finish this season.
‘Our ambition is to win the Premier League and other major trophies in Europe,’ Kronke said.
‘It’s what the fans, players, staff, manager and board expect and we won’t rest until that is achieved.
‘Arsene is the best person to help us make that happen. He has a fantastic track record and has our full backing.’
Wenger has been openly critical of the treatment he has received from some sections of the Arsenal fanbase over recent months. But now that a new contract is on place, the Arsenal boss says it is time for unity now.
‘The message to the fans is in aid of the club. Let’s be together to support our players, to support the club and all give our absolute best to be at the level that we want to be,’ he said.
‘We can move up to the next level, I’m convinced of that, by having faith in the way we want to play football and by supporting the players we have already.
‘Of course we’ll try to strengthen our squad to be stronger next season, but we want to be faithful to the way we want to play the game. We want to support this way [of playing] all together.’
This will surely be the last managerial contract that Wenger will have at Arsenal, and the Gunners are starting to plan now for the future.
While Wenger will have the final say on all first-team matters, Arsenal are reported to be looking to bring in a sporting director to work alongside him.
One of the criticism of Wenger of late, is his inability to pull the trigger on deals. Bringing in a sporting director should solve that issue and also allow someone other than Arsene Wenger to develop the blueprint for where Arsenal are going.