Arsene Wenger to Re-Sign with Arsenal: Why It's Good for the Gunners
The Arsene Wenger era at Arsenal appears set to continue, with chief executive Ivan Gazidis hinting at a new deal for the club's longtime manager. In terms of long-term stability, that is no doubt a good thing for the club, and as for Arsenal's ambitions for silverware, it's probably good news as well.
Jeremy Wilson of the Telegraph reports that Wenger will ignore interest from Paris Saint-Germain and sign a new deal with Arsenal. Wenger's current deal expires in 2014, and if he signs a new three-year deal—as has been his custom with the club—that would take him to 2017, past the 20-year mark in North London.
Wenger joined Arsenal in 1996 and, following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, is already the longest serving manager of a Premier League club by fully 14 years and also the longest serving boss at any major club in world football.
"We think we have got a fantastic manager,” said Gazidis. "We hope that he wants to do what he is doing for the long term. I believe he does. I think he is still ambitious, still driven and sees the potential of the club as he looks forward and I think he is very excited by that.
"We have got a lot of confidence in Arsene that he is the right person to take the club forward and I think he will want to do that."
Since taking over in October 1996, the 63-year-old Wenger has won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups with Arsenal. The Gunners have not won a trophy since 2005, however, and Wenger drew criticism last season for suggesting, per the Guardian, that a top-four finish is equivalent to winning a trophy.
The trophy drought and the top-four comments have made Wenger the target of criticism from some fans, notably CNN personality Piers Morgan. But as Wilson points out in the Telegraph's article, Wenger has worked under considerably tighter financial restraints than big-spending English clubs like Manchester City and Chelsea.
As the 2013-14 season approaches, Arsenal's financial situation could be changing for the better. Wenger will have £70 million to spend in the summer transfer window, according to the Independent, and the club recently signed a lucrative sponsorship deal with Puma worth £30 million yearly, per the Daily Mirror.
As Gary Neville argued in an end-of-season television analysis, Arsenal could be on the verge of a new era of success, having spent responsibly over the past decade while building a new stadium. The key now is to actually take that next step.
Neville's sentiments were reflected in a tweet Thursday from the Mirror's John Cross:
There's no doubt that, from speaking to Ivan Gazidis yesterday, Arsenal have a new ambition and confidence. More from him later and tomorrow— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) June 6, 2013
Cross and other English journalists benefit from access to Gazidis and Wenger, and because of their inside access, their analysis should be considered thoughtfully. For the rest of us, though, the club's actions this summer will speak louder than any words, whether they come from Gazidis, Wenger, Cross or Neville.
That is to say, Wenger must now spend in the transfer market if he really is ready to show new ambition. He should not suddenly become irresponsible and overspend on mediocre players, but if a striker like Stevan Jovetic really is a serious transfer target, as Wilson of the Telegraph has reported, Wenger should not allow himself to be outbid by Chelsea or Juventus.
Keeping Wenger around will ensure Arsenal remains stable for years to come. His continued ability to guide the Gunners to the UEFA Champions League has kept the club within touching distance of its bigger-spending rivals.
Now, though, that might not be enough. If Wenger is set to remain with the club into a third decade, it's time to show that renewed ambition we keep hearing about.
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