herald

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Fans want halt to Wenger's contract talks

Arsenal majority shareholder Stan Kroenke. Photo credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Arsenal majority shareholder Stan Kroenke. Photo credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire

OFFERING manager Arsene Wenger a new contract would be "inappropriate" at the moment, the Arsenal Supporters' Trust has said.

The Frenchman has a year left on his current deal and was linked with Paris St Germain in the summer but dismissed the prospect of a move from the club he joined in October 1996 prior to the end of his existing contract.

Gunners chief executive Ivan Gazidis has stated his intent to retain Wenger beyond the end of the season, but AST wants the club to wait before determining Wenger's future after eight trophyless years and the 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa in their opening Premier League match on Saturday.

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."

Some fans took exception to the statement posted on Twitter.

AST claims Wenger has between £70million and £100million to spend, yet Arsenal have struggled to recruit players this summer in another source of frustration for fans.

Majority shareholder Stan Kroenke is culpable, the AST says. "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."

There was also fresh criticism of Kroenke from former director Lady Bracewell-Smith, who claimed she "deeply regrets" allowing the American to take control of the club.

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