English Premiership

Kroenke wants Wenger to stay

2013-09-27 15:29
Arsene Wenger (File)
London - Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke has made it clear he wants manager Arsene Wenger to stay at the club and end the Gunners' trophy drought.

French boss Wenger has already been at the north London side for 17 years, but Arsenal have now entered their ninth season without silverware, their last major trophy being the 2005 FA Cup.

Wenger's contract is due to expire after the end of the current campaign and there has been speculation regarding the 63-year-old's long-term future.

But American businessman Kroenke, in a rare interview with Friday's Daily Telegraph, made it clear he wanted Wenger to stay in the post.

"There's no one I feel more strongly about and I think he is doing a great job," Kroenke said.

"We have been very supportive, we have never wavered, we are proud of him, proud of the club, the way the club is run and how it holds itself out to the world."

Wenger, speaking to reporters on Friday, reacted to the Arsenal owner's backing by saying: "I am very honoured to have the support of Stan Kroenke.

"That he thinks I can help the club is a huge confidence vote. That is something for me that is very positive."

Following a 3-1 loss to Aston Villa on the opening day of the season, Arsenal now lead the Premier League on goal difference from arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur ahead of Saturday's match against Swansea City.

Arsenal are also into the group stage of the Champions League proper while a youthful and largely second-string side beat top flight-rivals West Bromwich Albion on penalties in the League Cup on Wednesday.

Wenger said he was relaxed about the progress of talks regarding an extension of his Arsenal contract.

"The good thing with me, if I have one quality, (it is that) you don't need a lot of talks to extend the contract I have.

"(We will do it) when we find time. I don't think that is the most important problem at the moment."

Wenger, a former coach of Monaco and Japan's Nagoya Grampus Eight, was met with headlines of "Arsene Who?" when he succeeded Bruce Rioch as Arsenal manager in September 1996.

Wenger, however, said now was not the time for nostalgia.

"Our job has a good advantage - you just look forward to the next game. You never look back."

The club record signing of Germany international Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid for £42.4 million was a departure from recent Arsenal transfer policy but Kroenke insisted it had not been motivated by the board.

"I really enjoy Arsene - very smart, very intelligent. He has an absolute view on how he runs that team and the club. He has earned that right.

"Don't look for me to interfere with that. I have learnt over the years that sometimes owners try do that and it is not so good."

Kroenke - whose other sports interests include running ice hockey team Colorado Avalanche, Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids and the Denver Nuggets NBA basketball side, rejected the view advanced by some Arsenal fans that he is unconcerned about winning trophies with the Gunners.

"There would be nothing more thrilling," said Kroenke. "I'm not getting any younger," the 66-year-old added.

"It's something I would like to achieve. I've done it a couple of times in the US and it was unbelievable.

"For the players, for the coaches and the manager, as well as everyone around the club, I can't imagine the level of excitement.

"The idea that no one cares or is passionate about that sort of thing is just beyond the realms of imagination."


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