Wenger to sign new contract

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LONDON, August 13 – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger revealed on Friday that he expects to pledge his future to the Gunners by signing a new contract shortly.Wenger will be out of contract at the end of this season and it had been suggested he could leave Arsenal if the team endured a sixth successive year without a trophy.

But the 60-year-old Frenchman, who moved to the Premier League club in 1996, confirmed he is willing to stay because he believes his squad is close to fulfilling their potential.

"I have to show as well how much I believe in this team by showing my commitment. My situation will be sorted out very soon," he said ahead of Sunday’s opening league game at Liverpool.

"It is more a question about timing, and all the other ingredients which are in a contract will be easy to sort out.

"I believe my commitment to the club has nothing do with the speculation of how the season would go, because that would be unfair.

"If I do not do well, and one day the club is not happy with me I can completely understand that I do not stay here any more. But I believe we will do well.

"I love to win and I love football – I can combine the two and that is what keeps me hungry.

"It has nothing to do with the number of years you are in the job, it is just your nature – if I play any game with you, I will want to win it. If I lose I am sad."

Wenger last won a major trophy back in 2005 when Arsenal beat Manchester United in the FA Cup final and it is six years since they were crowned champions of England.

But Arsenal briefly threatened a title challenge late last season and, after persuading captain Cesc Fabregas to stay at the Emirates Stadium, Wenger expects a more sustained bid for honours this season.

"What will be success is to improve from last year, which is to win the league – that is the only benchmark," he said.

"You cannot finish third and then say for the season after, you want to finish behind that.

"We are a young side and the improvement is natural – the ambition is there, we are hungry for success.

"We know people want more from us and we are ready to give more, but success is to win the league."

Wenger believes Fabregas could feature at Anfield this weekend despite missing pre-season as he recovered from helping Spain win the World Cup.

Although Fabregas didn’t get his wish to join Barcelona during the close-season, Wenger reported that the skipper’s attitude has been fine in training.

"Cesc has been very good, despite all of that story, his love for the club was never under threat," Wenger said.

"You could understand he was torn between Barcelona and staying here, but he really deeply loves the club. His attitude has been completely spot-on.

"I tried very hard to show him how much I want him to stay and of course you never completely know the outcome, but my resolution and determination was always very strong to keep him – and it was never a question of money."

Arsenal had a bid rejected for Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer in May and the Australian has gone public with his desire to join the Gunners.

But Wenger ruled out another offer at present as he focuses on a tough trip to Liverpool.

"What is important is for us to focus on players who are in the squad and not give too much room to any speculation," he said.

"I believe that we have goalkeepers who have quality and class – they have a good opportunity to show that on Sunday.

"It is a good opportunity to have a good start against a good team.

"We are ready and are excited by the new challenge. We finished third last year and the target is to do better.

"I believe we have room for improvement and that is what we want to show."

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