May 31 – Arsene Wenger’s 21-year reign as the longest serving manager in English football’s top flight will continue after it was announced that he has agreed a new two-year deal.
Wenger met majority shareholder Stan Kroenke and chief executive Ivan Gazidis on Monday to determine his future, according to British media, and the result was the conclusion of the biggest “will he, wont he?” question in the Premier League.
The new terms do not, according to media reports, include a break clause and, should the contract be completed, Wenger will extend his reign to 23 years.
The Frenchman’s future was the subject of intense speculation throughout the season, with Arsenal fans split over whether he is still the best man for the job.
But after more than two decades at the club during which time Arsenal have won 16 trophies, the most successful overseas manager in the history of British football is going nowhere for the time being, bringing to an end months of conjecture, a situation which Wenger admitted had contributed to an “absolutely horrendous” environment around his team.
Arsenal finished the season with yet another FA cup trophy – their seventh under Wenger– but could only manage a fifth-place league finish to miss out on the Champions League for the first time since he took charge in 1996.
The Gunners have not won the Premier League in 13 years and in 11 of those seasons have finished 10 or more points adrift of the champions. Getting them back into a position to challenge again will be Wenger’s greatest task given that all the major contenders are certain to strengthen as well during the summer.
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