Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis insisted long-serving manager Arsene Wenger will not be leaving the Emirates Stadium anytime soon.
Wenger came under increased scrutiny as Arsenal’s wait for a Premier League tittle extended to a 12th year after finishing second to Cinderella story Leicester City last term.
The 66-year-old Frenchman, who has been in charge since 1996, has already admitted he is unsure of his future beyond the expiry of his contract next year, having come under fire from sections of Arsenal’s supporter base.
But while he was “disappointed” to have finished second in 2015-16, Gazidis has no plans to part with Wenger.
“There is not nostalgia on either side,” Gazidis told the Telegraph. “It’s not what motivates us or him.
“The reason we have Arsene as our manager is because our board believes he can deliver success. The reason that Arsene is here is because he believes that he can deliver success. If either of us didn’t believe that we would not be constrained by nostalgia or longing; we would have to make a change. Arsene would understand and support that. But it’s just not how either side feels. We feel we are on a good path.”
Gazidis added: “He’s in his mid-sixties, it’s natural to think about when his time here might come to an end, but the truth is nobody knows. He is in fantastic shape. He is deeply engaged and excited.
“One of the biggest challenges we will face is the transition, whenever it happens, but that is not something we are going to be facing imminently. Obviously, he is going to be managing us next year and we are planning and making many decisions for the long term.
“The reality is we wouldn’t leave things until the last minute. I’m comfortable both that if Arsene is going to extend we will know that and if, whenever that is, he is going to come to an end, that he will give us the time that we need to prepare for that transition. The relationship with Arsene is very deep. It will be done behind closed doors and we will have our transition plans well worked out.
“He has always put the long-term health of the club first. He wants to hand over a football club, whenever that it is, that is in great shape. He views that as a massively important part of his legacy. But we are just not in that mode. I know Arsene wouldn’t stay on if he thought the club wasn’t heading in a good direction and thought he wouldn’t be able to deliver what the fans want.”
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