Arsenal Chief executive Ivan Gazidis says manager Arsene Wenger is going nowhere as the club is preparing for the “long-term” under him despite the Frenchman entering the final year of his contract with them.
The 66-year-old ”“ Arsenal’s longest serving manager has so far given no indication whether he intends to remain in charge beyond next season.
Despite winning the FA Cup six times and qualifying for the Champions League during every year of his tenure,Â Wenger has had a strained relationship with a section of the club’s managementÂ over Arsenal’s failure to challenge for the Premier League in recent seasons.
They last won the title in 2004 and have failed to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League since 2010, but Gazidis says the board and the manager are convinced the club is heading in the right direction.
“He [Wenger] is 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,” Gazidis told theÂ Telegraph.
“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.”
Arsenal finished second last season asÂ Leicester clinched the first top-flight title in the club’s 132-year history.