Since becoming one of Arsenal’s owners in 2007, Stan Kroenke has only worked with one manager at the Premier League soccer club: Arsene Wenger.
Kroenke, the Arsenal majority owner, wants Wenger to sign a new contract and extend his tenure on the Arsenal bench beyond its 18th year, according to the Telegraph.
“There’s no one I feel more strongly about and I think he is doing a great job,” Kroenke said.
“Arsene knows how we feel, what our philosophy is, what we want to do and I feel like we are totally aligned. I think he wants to do it the exact same way as we do.”
Wenger, 63, is Arsenal’s longest-serving manager. He took charge of the Gunners in 1996 and has led the club to three Premier League titles and four FA Cups during his 17-year tenure. However, Arsenal has not won a trophy since 2005, and some are calling on Wenger to step down from his position. His contract expires after the 2013-14 season, and the club has held initial extension talks. The Telegraph reports that an offer is forthcoming, but Wenger has “suggested that he still feels a need to prove himself again,” before agreeing to a new deal.
Kroenke says the French tactician will decide when to call time on his Arsenal tenure.
“Arsene is his own man, he will make up his own mind,” Kroenke said. “There is a lot of pressure in the job, he has handled it very well but at some point we all make up our minds whether we continue in our careers.
“I don’t want to say something about Arsene that is not the way he feels but, to me, I think he seems to love what he does.”
Wenger has full control over the on-field matters at the club, including decisions over which players to buy and sell and how much to pay them. Should he continue as manager, Kroenke will involve himself in that aspect of the club any more than he already does.
“I really enjoy Arsene — very smart, very intelligent,” Kroenke said. “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.
“We’ve always said that there are resources available. There are guys who say that we should push Arsene harder to spend. That’s fair enough — there are always lots of opinions, but Arsene is an independent thinker and planner. He works very hard at it and has a wonderful record. He was trained in economics, my undergraduate study was in economics.”
Arsenal sits atop the Premier League standing after five games. While there is a long way to go in the season, Kroenke is optimistic about his club’s prospects for winning major honors this season and beyond. He backs Arsenal’s controversial self-sustaining business model and thinks the man known as “The Professor” should be the one to show the rest of the soccer world its merits for years to come.
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