Wenger pens new Arsenal deal

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iol spt feb28 Wenger Getty Images Arsene Wenger says Arsenal must be perfect until the end of the season if they want to challenge for the title. FILE PHOTO: Alex Livesey

London - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has agreed a three-year contract extension, keeping him at the club until 2017, it was announced Friday.

“Arsenal Holdings plc confirms that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has signed a new three-year extension to his current contract with Arsenal Football Club plc, a wholly owned subsidiary, taking his tenure at the club to May 2017,” said a statement issued by the Gunners' parent company to the London Stock Exchange.

The Frenchman is the current longest-serving manager in the English Premier League, having joined the north London side in 1996 and this season he ended Arsenal's nine-year wait for a major trophy by overseeing their come-from-behind FA Cup final win against Hull City at Wembley.

Wenger, 64, was a surprise choice to succeed Bruce Rioch as Arsenal manager when he arrived at the club's then Highbury headquarters in September 1996 from Japanese club Grampus Eight.

However, he won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups in the first half of his 17-and-a-half-year Arsenal tenure. But prior to this month's dramatic 3-2 win over Hull, he had not lifted a trophy since the 2005 FA Cup.

The campaign just finished also saw Wenger guide Arsenal to a 17th consecutive season of Champions League football.

Bob Wilson, the goalkeeper in Arsenal's League and FA Cup 'double' winning side of 1970/71 and the goalkeeping coach during the first few years of Wenger's time at the club, told BBC Radio Five: “This is a guy who works 24 hours a day all year around.

“He hates to lose and revolutionised the game in the country. Some say he has too much power but a guy who dedicates himself to it like he does, you cherish,” added Wilson of Wenger, who oversaw Arsenal 'doubles' in both the 1997/98 and 2001/02 seasons.

Wilson also praised Wenger for the way in which he'd dealt with the financial constraints imposed on him as an initial result of Arsenal's move from Highbury to the nearby Emirates Stadium.

“Every club who has built a new ground in this country have all been relegated. Why? Because of the stranglehold of the debt of a new ground,” Wilson said.

“Arsene and Arsenal have got through that stage by still qualifying for the Champions League.”


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