Arsene Wenger will stay on as Arsenal manager, earning a new two-year contract on Wednesday despite missing out on Champions League qualification.
Arsenal said the 67-year-old Frenchman secured the extension after a full review of the club’s activities “to identify areas for improvement to build a sustained title challenge” was conducted with chief executive Ivan Gazidis.
“I love this club and I am looking forward to the future with optimism and excitement,” Wenger said. “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.
“I am grateful to have the support of the board and Stan [Kroenke] in doing everything we can to win more trophies. It’s what we all want and I know it’s what our fans around the world demand.”
Wenger’s latest contract was due to expire this year but after holding talks with Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke, Wenger has signed a new deal that will extend his stay at the north London club to nearly 23 years.
Kroenke, who has increasingly been the target of abuse from fans, opted to keep the status quo — a decision that is sure to divide opinion.
“Our ambition is to win the Premier League and other major trophies in Europe,” Kroenke 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 joined Arsenal in 1996, making him by far the longest-serving current manager in English soccer. He has won three Premier League titles and a record seven FA Cup titles — the most recent coming on Saturday with a 2-1 win over Chelsea.
Arsenal qualified for the Champions League in every full season under Wenger until this year, when the team missed out after…