Reports today suggest that Arsene Wenger is close to agreeing a new contract at Arsenal. According to Matt Hughes of the The Times, the two parties have been discussing the prospect of a three-year deal worth £24 million for the past couple of months and Wenger could sign the contract in the new year.
The Frenchman’s current deal expires in June and Wenger’s failure to publicly commit himself to the Gunners has left his future shrouded in mystery. But according to Hughes, Wenger has advised his senior players and back-room staff that he is keen on signing a new deal, which would take his tenure at the North London outfit past 20 years in charge.
It will be news gratuitously welcomed by the Arsenal fan-base, who are enjoying an excellent season under the Frenchman. The Gunners are currently four points clear at the top the Premier League table and look primed to take their place in the last 16 of the Champions League.
This clamour for a new deal represents a remarkable change of fortunes for Wenger. Let's not forget, he was baited by his own supporters after an opening day defeat to Aston Villa at the Emirates. His apparent reluctance to spend any money despite a reported war-chest of funds riled supporters and left many questioning whether he could repeat his previous glories. Arsenal are eight years without a trophy after all, perhaps it was time for a fresh face?
But Wenger pulled off a major coup with the signing of Mesut Ozil and since then his team haven’t looked back. Ozil has sparkled, Olivier Giroud has lead the line with poise and Aaron Ramsey has grown into one of the best players in the Premier League.
The result is a four-point lead at the top of the table as we enter December and despite some suggesting they will not be able to keep this pace up, things look to be coming together for Wenger and his maturing team. And news of this contract will offer the club another boost on the brink of a tricky run of Christmas fixtures.
Pinning Wenger down for another three years also means the Arsenal board can give him their full backing in the January transfer window. If the Gunners are to win the Premier League title, that extra impetus will be key and you have to wonder whether or not the board would have thrown their full weight behind another marquee signing with Wenger potentially off in the summer.
But after previously stating he wanted to make a decision in January, it would be no surprise to see Wenger sign on at the club yet again. He remains one of the best managers out there and looks to have fashioned yet another fantastic Arsenal side.
Gilberto Silva, former player under Wenger, told Talksport he fully expects him to sign another new deal:
I expect him to stay. Everyone at Arsenal does because he knows the club more than many, many people. He knows exactly what he has to do for the club in general.
Having been with the team since 1996, Wenger has become part of the furniture at Arsenal. It would be peculiar to see an Arsenal team take to the field without the Frenchman on the sidelines and it looks as though we could be set for a few more years of it yet.