Arsene Wenger backed to stay at Arsenal beyond 18 years

Chief executive Ivan Gazidis plays down delay in coming to an agreement

Arsene Wenger has been backed to extend his stay at Arsenal beyond his current contract which expires next summer.

The club's chief executive Ivan Gazidis has played down concerns over the delay in coming to an agreement on a new deal and has promised that the situation will not hamper Arsenal's activity during the current transfer window.

Despite entering the final 12 months of his current deal at the Emirates, Wenger is yet to commit his future, although talks are expected before the start of the new campaign. At the end of next season Wenger, who joined from Nagoya Grampus Eight, will have been in north London for 18 years.

Gazidis was reluctant to reveal whether negotiations had yet begun but claimed the board are keen for Wenger to continue and is confident the Frenchman will lead the club next season and beyond.

"What I really don't want to do is have a public discussion about Arsene's contractual position," he said.

"That would be a daily, weekly fixture on the public coverage if you start getting into that. What I will say is that we think we have got a fantastic manager. 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 a great relationship and he has a great relationship with the board as well. So, quietly and at the right time I think we will make an announcement on that when things are all put in place."

Paris St Germain remain keen on luring the 63-year-old back to France whenever he leaves Arsenal and although Wenger secured Champions League football for a 16th consecutive season, he is under mounting pressure to win silverware after eight barren years.

Gazidis refused to go as far as saying an offer is already on the table for Wenger.

"I don't want to get into that level [whether Arsenal had made him an offer] because then it'll be 'you've made him an offer' then the next question will be 'well, what did he say?' and so on. This is going to happen very quietly behind closed doors, privately and then there will be an announcement," said the man who has held the post of chief executive since 2008.

"I don't even want to say [we have discussed it]. 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."

Arsenal have more than £70million to spend this summer and Gazidis rejected the notion that any ongoing uncertainty over Wenger's future could complicate their ability of attracting players to the club.

"If you are asking me, is that an issue with players, the answer is 'no'," he said. "It is far more an issue with players signing at other clubs than it is at Arsenal. If players have that on their issue list, I think that's a mark in our favour, not against us.

"I think players that are concerned about uncertainty probably think about Arsenal as the most certain place they could be in the world of football. This is a club that has had remarkable consistency in terms of its manager, its football philosophy, its direction and the consistent support from the board and our principal owner for our manager is pretty much unmatched, through some difficult periods as well.

"So if its consistency players are looking for, I think Arsenal would be a very attractive place to come."

Although Wenger is yet to put pen to paper, the situation is relatively calm compared to managerial changes at Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea which Gazidis believe are responsible for a quiet opening in the transfer window.

"I don't want to get into the whole speculation around the transfer market but generally, what I'll say is that it has been quite a slow start and I think that's because there was such a managerial musical chairs going on that everybody is waiting for that to settle down," he said.

"I think clubs, agents and players are, which means it has been quite an unusual beginning to the transfer window. I imagine once most of the managerial appointments settle in a little bit, we will see that starting to pick up."

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