Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger closing in on new contract: 'There is a point where you have to make your decision'

Wenger is likely to extend his contract beyond the end of the current season after his side's resurgence sees them top of the Premier League

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The Independent Football

Arsene Wenger looks set to put pen to paper on a new contract that will keep him at Arsenal beyond the end of the current season, with an announcement expected to be made in the next few weeks.

The Frenchman is the longest serving manager in the Premier League by some way, having taken the job back in 1996, and although his current contract expires this year, the Gunners resurgence looks to have appeased fans that were calling for his head not so long ago.

Mesut Ozil’s £42.5m signing last summer suggested that Wenger was willing to spend big in order to compete with their main rivals, having shown a reluctance to shell out such a fee in recent seasons. What followed was a brilliant run of form that has seen the north London side sit pretty at the top of the Premier League for some time, and renewed optimism at the Emirates has coincided with new financial deals that looks set to strengthen the club in the years to come.

Speaking in a pre-match press conference ahead of the league visit of Fulham on Saturday, Wenger confirmed that there comes a time when a decision must be made, but he left those in attendance in the lurch as to whether that time had come.

“There is always a point where you have to decide, of course,” Wenger said. “There is a point where you have to decide and there is a point where you have to make your decision public."

When pushed further for an answer on his current preference, Wenger replied: “You can take of that sentence the way you want it.”

Despite his current precarious contract status, the club’s transfer plans have taken preference in recent weeks, with fans and pundits alike suggesting Arsenal require another striker to really push forward their title credentials and compete in the second half of the season with Manchester City and Chelsea.

But Wenger is clearly taking pleasure in dumbfounding those claims as he sticks with his current crop of strikers, even though Nicklas Bendtner, Yaya Sanogo and Theo Walcott are injured while Lukas Podolski only returned from injury last month.

Olivier Giroud has been leading the line for the Gunners, having notched his ninth league goal in the 2-1 win over Aston Villa last Monday, and despite reports that Wenger will attempt to sign Fulham’s Dimitar Berbatov – a player he does admire – he has rubbished those claims as well.

“Do I rate Berbatov as player? Highly. Have we made any approach to sign Berbatov? No,” said Wenger.

“I don't think (we would look to sign Berbatov) because we have (Nicklas) Bendtner who is coming back, we have Yaya Sanogo who is making very good progress in training.

“Of course we have lost Theo Walcott and that for us was a big blow. Hopefully we can compensate, but we have not made any approach (for Berbatov).”