Arsene Wenger remains in charge but it’s all over now for keeper Lukas Fabianski
Three-year contract for FA Cup winner shows that club’s support for manager never wavered despite years without trophy
Arsène Wenger will sign a new three-year contract at Arsenal within the next week, the length of the deal reflecting the long-term certainty that the club have in their manager, which they believe has been vindicated in part by his first trophy in nine years, the FA Cup lifted on Saturday.
The three-year deal, at around £7.5m a season, would take Wenger beyond 20 years at the club and more critically will show that they are prepared to back him in the long term rather than hedge their bets with a shorter deal. The decision on the length of the contract had already been decided before Saturday’s final, but the result puts it in a much more positive light for the club.
It is anticipated that he will sign the deal towards the end of this week, Wenger himself confirming that it will be done before he leaves on 10 June for Brazil, where he will be a pundit for French television during the World Cup finals.
Arsenal’s majority shareholder, Stan Kroenke, was at Wembley for the 3-2 win over Hull City, with chief executive Ivan Gazidis, whose faith has never wavered. There has never been any doubt from Kroenke that he wanted Wenger to stay beyond the terms of his existing deal, which expires next month; the delay came from the manager’s side.
After the victory in extra time, with a goal from Aaron Ramsey, Wenger declined the opportunity to take a shot at Jose Mourinho, who has ended the season without a trophy for Chelsea. He said he always questioned himself during the nine years Arsenal had gone without a trophy but those barren years had not been for want of trying.
Wenger said: “I want to win. I work seven days a week because I want to win. But it is difficult. You don’t, unfortunately, win on command. Our job is very easy when you win things and when you don’t you need some strengths to continue.”
The Arsenal goalkeeper on Saturday, Lukasz Fabianski, confirmed that it would be his final appearance for the club. Like right-back Bacary Sagna, he is out of contract at the end of next month.
Fabianski said: “That was my final game for Arsenal Football Club and I am really proud of that final game; I’m really proud that probably my career ends up with a trophy. We will see. In the next few weeks I will know more.”
Sagna, who has been offered a three-year deal by the club, was less certain that he had played his last game for the Gunners, although the indications are that he will join Manchester City. “As of [Saturday], I do not know if it was my last game,” he said.
“As everyone knows, I am out of contract and we have not found an agreement [with the club]. After that, as a player, I’m happy to lift a trophy. Personally, this is recompense after losing here in 2011 [in the Carling Cup final to Birmingham City]. There is a lot of emotion.
“It had been nine years since the club had not won a title. It is a relief to see us win. It was really important to win. There is pride, also, in giving a title to these supporters. And personal pride because this is my first trophy with Arsenal.”
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