Arsenal have officially confirmed that Arsene Wenger has signed a two year contract extension with the club, which will see him remain at the club until 2019.
The news comes as no surprise despite months of speculation about the 67 year old’s future, and in the wake of the Saturday’s FA Cup triumph, it felt pretty much inevitable.
A disappointing Premier League season led to sustained protests, aimed at the board to encourage them to not renew Wenger’s contract when it expired in June.
There was talk of a boardroom schism, but ultimately the final decision came down to majority shareholder Stan Kroenke who has decided to stick with the man who has been in charge since 1996.
Speaking about the extension, Wenger explained: “I love this club and I am looking forward to the future with optimism and excitement. 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 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.”
It is expected that some structural changes will be put in place, although they will stop short of a traditional Director of Football, but some kind of football executive position will be filled over the summer.
Interestingly, it was CEO Ivan Gazidis, so quiet on the subject of the manager’s future, who was wheeled out to promise improvements off the pitch.
“There is no complacency anywhere at this club,” he said. Our goal is to compete for and win trophies here and in Europe.
“Everything we do is designed to make that happen and we will be working hard on and off the pitch this summer to improve and make a strong challenge next season. The club has grown beyond recognition in every aspect in recent years and we have the platform to be successful and meet the ambitions we and our fans share.”
Wenger also faces a big job in terms of his playing staff. The futures of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez are top of the list, while there are also serious doubts over Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who has been consistently linked with Liverpool.
As well as that there are decisions required over the likes of Kieran Gibbs, Jack Wilshere, Mathieu Debuchy, Calum Chambers, and Wojciech Szczesny – not to mention the recruitment required to bolster a squad which ended the season 18 points off the top in the Premier League.
As if words from Ivan and Arsene weren’t enough, we were also treated to a statement from Stan Kroenke who insists that the club continues to harbour ambitions to dominate football both at home and abroad.
“Our ambition is to win the Premier League and other major trophies in Europe,” said the American.
“It’s what the fans, players, staff, manager and board expect and we won’t rest until that is achieved. Arsène is the best person to help us make that happen. He has a fantastic track record and has our full backing.”
It’s going to be a busy summer, that’s for sure.