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Arsenal chief executive speaks openly about Arsene Wenger's future

SoccerBy Sunday World
Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has told the Telegraph that Arsene Wenger will be Arsenal for a while yet.

Despite a certain section of the Arsenal fan base calling for an end to the Frenchman's almost 20-year reign at the club, the board remain fully behind Wenger.

When asked about the manager's future, Gazidis told the Telegraph: “He’s in his mid-sixties, it’s natural to think about when his time here might come to an end, but the truth is nobody knows.

“He is in fantastic shape. He is deeply engaged and excited. One of the biggest challenges we will face is the transition, whenever it happens, but that is not something we are going to be facing imminently. Obviously, he is going to be managing us next year and we are planning and making many decisions for the long term."

Wenger's contract is up next summer, but Gazidis hinted that if he did decide to step down, the club would be prepared for the process of a new face for the first time in over two decades.

“The reality is we wouldn’t leave things until the last minute," he said. "I’m comfortable both that if Arsène is going to extend we will know that and if, whenever that is, he is going to come to an end, that he will give us the time that we need to prepare for that transition. The relationship with Arsène is very deep. It will be done behind closed doors and we will have our transition plans well worked out.

“He has always put the long-term health of the club first. He wants to hand over a football club, whenever that it is, that is in great shape. He views that as a massively important part of his legacy. But we are just not in that mode. I know Arsène wouldn’t stay on if he thought the club wasn’t heading in a good direction and thought he wouldn’t be able to deliver what the fans want.”