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Wenger targets League title after signing deal

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been at the centre of speculation over his future

LONDON, United Kingdom, May 31 – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is targeting next season’s Premier League title after signing a new two-year deal at the club.

The agreement does not include a break clause and, should it be completed, will extend his reign to 23 years. Neither Arsenal nor Wenger, 67, see this as definitely being his final contract.

“I love this club and I am looking forward to the future with optimism and excitement,” said Wenger.

Arsenal are expected to spend at least Sh13.3bn (£100mn) on new players in the upcoming transfer window – which opens on 1 July – having also spent around that figure last summer.

“This is a strong group of players and with some additions we can be even more successful,” Wenger told the club website.

“We’re committed to mounting a sustained league challenge and that will be our focus this summer and next season.”

The Gunners finished fifth in the Premier League this season, the first time they have finished outside the top four since the Frenchman joined in 1996.

They finished 18 points behind champions Chelsea, but beat the Blues 2-1 to win the FA Cup at Wembley on Saturday.

Wenger met club owner Stan Kroenke on Monday to determine his future, with the decision relayed to directors at a Tuesday board meeting.

Following Wednesday’s official announcement, chief executive Ivan Gazidis said: “There is no complacency anywhere at this club.

“Our goal is to compete for and win trophies here and in Europe. Everything we do is designed to make that happen and we will be working hard on and off the pitch this summer to improve and make a strong challenge next season.”

American majority owner Kroenke said the Gunners’ ambition was to win the Premier League and “other major trophies in Europe” under Frenchman Wenger.

“It’s what the fans, players, staff, manager and board expect and we won’t rest until that is achieved – Arsene is the best person to help us make that happen,” he added.

-A reign of two halves-

Wenger led the Gunners to three Premier League titles and four FA Cups in his first nine seasons in charge.

In 2003-04, he became the first manager since 1888-89 to lead a team through an entire top-flight season unbeaten.

But after winning the 2005 FA Cup, they had to wait another nine years – or 3,283 days – for their next silverware. It came as they beat Hull City to win the 2014 FA Cup, before winning the trophy again the following year.

Arsenal have not won the Premier League in 13 years and in 11 of those seasons have finished 10 or more points adrift of the champions.

-By BBC

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