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English Premiership

Wenger promised war chest

LONDON, May 11 – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been promised a new contract and funds to bolster his squad during the close-season.
Wenger is believed to want at least three new signings after Arsenal ended without a trophy for a fifth successive season, but the Gunners chief has rarely been handed significant funds by the board since the club’s expensive move to the Emirates Stadium.

However, Gunners chief executive Ivan Gazidis is adamant the French coach will get the backing he deserves in the transfer market, with strengthening the defence a priority.

"Arsenal have not had access to the deep pockets of a wealthy investor and we have focused on a path of independence underpinned by a sustainable business model for long-term success," Gazidis said.

"We’re now coming to a period where the financial health of the club is secure. That does not mean we have unlimited resources but it does mean we have sufficient funds to invest.

"One or two players are coming to the end of their contracts, William Gallas, for example. Whatever happens, Arsene has identified the fact the defence has been an issue for us this year so its not difficult to imagine that that’s an area we’re focused on in this transfer window."

Wenger will also be handed a new contract extension and although talks have not reached a detailed stage, Gazidis is confident the coach, whose current deal expires next year, will commit himself to the club.

"I think everybody knows that the board has always backed Arsene and believes in him totally," Gazidis added.

"Arsene in return has a great love for the club. There’s no dimming in his desire and I’ve no doubt that we’ll extend his contract but we’ll do that very quietly and with the minimum of fuss. When it is appropriate to make an announcement we will do so.

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"The atmosphere has been very healthy – the manager and the board have been very closely aligned and that is a fruitful environment in which to make progress."

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