Arsene Wenger contract should be put on hold say Arsenal Supporters' Trust in statement

New deal at this time would be 'inappropriate' says fans' group

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After eight long years without a trophy, a fruitless summer in the transfer market and a season which has started in depressing fashion with 3-1 defeat at home against Aston Villa, the Arsenal Supporters' Trust (AST) has said that offering manager Arsene Wenger, who is in the final year of his contract, a new deal is currently "inappropriate".

Arsenal's chief-executive Ivan Gazidis has previously spoken of his desire to offer Wenger, who has been charge since October 1996, a new deal at the Emirates, but the fans' group have dismissed the idea.

A statement from AST read: "In recent weeks Ivan Gazidis has spoken of the club's intent to offer Arsene Wenger a new contract. The AST believes this is inappropriate.

"A decision on whether to offer an extension to the manager's contract which ends in May 2014 should only be taken following the closing of the transfer window and assessment of the team's performances in the weeks ahead.

"Considerable improvement must be shown for us to be convinced this should happen, and we believe that other senior football appointments must come first.

"The failings we highlighted in Arsene Wenger holding far too much power have only been amplified in recent weeks. These must be addressed as a matter of urgency.

"For now the club's entire focus must be on using the remaining days of the transfer window to strengthen the team significantly."

Majority shareholder, the American Stan Kroenke has also been heavily criticised by the AST, with the statement saying he is "ultimately responsible" for the club's failing.

“Stan Kroenke does not attend many Arsenal matches nor does he seem to have the time to devote to the affairs of Arsenal,” the statement added.

“But it is clear to all the football personnel he is ultimately responsible for our failing.”

Their concerns have been echoed by another Arsenal fans' group, the Black Scarf Movement, who have written a letter to Gazidis, detailing the “poisonous” atmosphere at the Emirates, and demanding a shift in the club’s transfer policy, with an estimated £70m available for new purchases but the only new addition this summer has been French striker Yaya Sanogo – a free signing from Auxerre. A chorus of boos greeted the team from the stands at the final whistle of the defeat at the weekend.

The letter read: “Make no mistake, if there is not significant improvement in our playing squad over the next couple of weeks, the rapidly growing anger in the stands will become difficult to overturn.

“There hasn't been a poisonous atmosphere like this at Arsenal for over 30 years and the Board has simply stood by, while things have gone from bad to worse. I am sure you appreciate this can no longer happen”

Deals for Gonzalo Higuain, Luiz Gustavo and Luis Suarez have failed to materialise over the summer, and now Wenger faces a Champions League qualifying tie at Fenerbahce on Wednesday with up to eight first-team players sidelined – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Thomas Vermaelen, Nacho Monreal and Mikel Arteta are out, while Kieran Gibbs, Bacary Sagna, Aaron Ramsey and Tomas Rosicky are major doubts.

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