The long-time Gunners boss signed a new two-year contract this week after months of speculation over whether he would stay or go as his last contract ran down. The news extends Wenger’s stay at Arsenal through 2019, and if he stays until the end of his latest contract, Wenger will certainly manage the most games in Premier League history.
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“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.
“I am grateful to have the support of the board and Stan (Kroenke, Arsenal majority owner) 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 is coming off a disappointing season for the Gunners as they finished out of the Premier League’s top four for the first time in Wenger’s 20-year stay in North London, meaning an end to Arsenal’s consistent stay in the UEFA Champions League.
Arsenal won its last 5 games of the season before securing the club’s 13th FA Cup title but it was too late to recover from a dreadful February and March. Arsenal were pummeled 10-2 on aggregate by Bayern Munich in the Champions League Round of 16 and Arsenal went on a five-game spell where it lost four games.
Wenger admitted earlier in May that the lack of answers over his contract situation led to a “very difficult environment” for the players, adding that the psychological environment of the group was “absolutely horrendous.”
For Arsenal fans, this news only serves to disappoint the growing “Wenger Out” portion of the fan base, although there are still a majority of fans who support Wenger and will welcome the news.
However, it’s undeniably that Arsenal have failed to achieve the fan’s expectations since Arsenal’s invincible’s era ended around 2006. Since that time, Arsenal has won the FA Cup three times but has failed to win the Premier League and has been bounced in the Champions League Round of 16 for seven consecutive seasons.
It’s unclear if Arsene Wenger can guide the team back into the top four of the Premier League but based on his track record, the odds are in his favor for bringing Arsenal back into Europe’s top continental competition.
The next big questions for Arsenal are whether the club can hold on to two of its attacking stars, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, who have both been rumored with a move away from the Emirates Stadium. Once their futures are determined, then it will be interesting to see how much Wenger has to spend this summer to bolster his squad, particularly in defense and at holding midfield.