Wenger Denies “Contract Talk” With Ozil Gone Silent

Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger denies contract talks with Mesut Ozil have collapsed.

Wenger did admit discussions have “slowed down” in the past couple of weeks but insists that dialogue is still open and the club want the 28-year-old playmaker to re-sign.

German media claim talks have stalled since February.

But on Wednesday Wenger said: “Yes, of course (I am hopeful).

“The contract talks have slowed down a little bit since August 31, because we need a little breather and to focus on the competition. But we will slowly get back into that.”

 

After 2 Decades Arsenal Slips Into Europe’s Second Tier Competition

Arsenal makes a comeback and takes giant strides by slipping into the continent’s second tier competition in the English League, after nearly two decades of in the Champions League, with AC Milan also injecting star quality.

Arsene Wenger’s men, fifth in the Premier League last season – their first finish outside the top four since 1995-96 – take on German side Cologne on Thursday at the Emirates Stadium in London.

The Arsenal boss said his team would take the competition seriously despite the disappointment of missing out on the Champions League after 19 consecutive seasons in Europe’s premier competition.

“We will take it seriously but the priority is to focus on the Premier League and combining the two,” he said in comments reported by Britain’s Daily Telegraph.

“Then, in December, we will see, but at least we want to qualify for the next round. Thursday to Sunday morning is short so I have to think about that. But we have to win at home and you know how it is when you don’t win at home.”

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech, who won the 2012/13 Europa League with Chelsea, said the competition was a worthwhile target.

“We decided that it was the first time and hopefully the last time we played the Europa League and we wanted to win it,” he said.

Arsenal’s domestic rivals Manchester United won the trophy last year, giving them a route into this year’s Champions League.

Wenger, whose Arsenal side lost the club’s previous match in the competition to Galatasaray in the 2000 final, when it was branded the Uefa Cup, is likely to rotate his squad, giving some of his fringe players game time as he negotiates a tricky Group H that also includes Red Star Belgrade and Belarusian outfit BATE Borisov.

Seven-time European champions AC Milan have an easier task, with ties against Austria Vienna, AEK Athens and Rijeka of Croatia in Group D as they continue their return to European competition for the first time since 2013-14.

The Italians, looking to win the only major European trophy that has so far eluded them, appear to be on the road to recovery under Chinese ownership after a number of lean years.

Smarting after a 4-1 Serie A defeat to Lazio at the weekend, they open their group-stage campaign at Austria Vienna after coming through two qualifying rounds.

“We are a new squad. It’s my responsibility and the one of the boss and the management to lead this group to success,” said captain Leonardo Bonucci, who joined the club from Juventus in the close season.

“We must stick together also when playing in Europa League,” he told Milan TV. “It’s a competition that many in the team have never played in before.”

Wayne Rooney’s Everton will have a stern test in Group E, which also includes French club Lyon, whose Groupama Stadium will host the final on May 16.

Other notable names in this year’s group stage are Spanish sides Villarreal and Real Sociedad as well as Italy’s Lazio.

 

‘I Don’t Know Why Neymar Left Barca’ – Wenger

Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger has shown his displeasure and said it’s difficult to know why Neymar quit Barcelona for PSG

Wenger admits he’d like the Brazilian to set out why he chose to leave Barca.

“Neymar has never really said the reasons for his departure because he always insisted upon a great desire to play with the best players,” said Wenger.

“He decided to take another route, so for financial reasons, or because he thinks that PSG will replace Real Madrid or Barcelona, or for personal reasons, he may want to become the player to which PSG, the team, is turning to and he wants to be recognized as the best player in the world.”

 

Wenger Believes Liverpool Endorsed Chamberlain Behind Club’s Consent

Arsene Wenger admits it would be “naive” to believe that Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain was not “tapped up” prior to his £35 million moves from Arsenal to Liverpool.

The England international departed Emirates Stadium on deadline day, with the Gunners choosing to cash in on a player who would have been out of contract next summer.

They refused to do likewise with Alexis Sanchez, as Manchester City were prevented from completing a £60m deal, but Wenger concedes that his hand was forced in other discussions.

The Frenchman believes that Oxlade-Chamberlain will have been contacted prior to his switch to Anfield, although he doubts that any talks were held during a Premier League visit to Merseyside a matter of days before a big-money transfer was pushed through.

“You are not naive enough to think that will not happen,” Wenger said.

“I don’t know (if it happened before Arsenal’s 4-0 defeat to Liverpool on August 27). I don’t know.

“Have they been tapped up? Of course. But on the day of a game? I don’t think so, I hope not. But it’s inevitable.

“France played against Holland on the last day of the transfer window. Do you really think that not one French player or Dutch player had phone calls in the afternoon about a move or not?

“I am not naive enough to believe that. That’s why you have to scrap it before the season starts.”

Wenger has now got his wish regarding deadline day, with the decision taken to shorten the summer window.

Premier League clubs have agreed to end all transfer dealings before the start of the season, with the new rules set to come into effect from 2018-19.

Not all English top-flight teams supported the proposal, but changes have been made and from next year there will be an end to distracting exit talk once competitive football resumes.

Wenger Faces End OF Transfer Window Disaster

Rocked by Arsenal’s humiliating 4-0 defeat at Liverpool, Arsene Wenger faces a series of damaging transfer window defections that threaten to derail his side’s already chaotic season.

With the transfer deadline looming at 2200 GMT on Thursday, Gunners boss Wenger finds himself mired in a mess of his own making as Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain headline a host of Arsenal stars trying to flee the troubled club.

Chile forward Sanchez is desperate to seal a move to Manchester City after rejecting Arsenal’s offer of £300 000-per-week to extend a contract which is due to expire at the end of the season.

Sanchez, who angered fans when he was pictured smirking on the Arsenal bench during the Liverpool rout, is reported to have asked to be excused from training with Chile this week while negotiations over his future heat up.

City is said to have offered their England winger Raheem Sterling plus cash in a bid to convince Wenger to part ways with his prized asset.

Wenger reportedly countered by asking City to include Sergio Aguero as a makeweight in the deal but, while Pep Guardiola has shown signs of losing faith in the Argentine striker, it would be a surprise if he was allowed to join Arsenal.

The city would prefer a straight cash deal for Sanchez but are believed to be willing to compromise by including Sterling and would fly to Chile to sort out personal terms and a medical before the deadline.

Sterling, who was sent off after scoring City’s winner at Bournemouth on Saturday, could be surplus to requirements at Eastlands given the array of attacking talent in Guardiola’s squad.

Sanchez’s future isn’t the only problem piling up in Wenger’s in-tray.

England winger Oxlade-Chamberlain has snubbed Wenger’s attempts to persuade him to sign an £180 000-per-week contract extension and, with his deal running out in June, he is reported to be on the verge of joining Chelsea in a £35 million deal.

West Bromwich Albion is looking at signing Arsenal left-back Kieran Gibbs, while Shkodran Mustafi, Jack Wilshere, and Mathieu Debuchy could also be sold.

DAMAGE LIMITATIOIN

After a miserable first season with Arsenal, Lucas Perez has been told he can leave and the Spanish striker hopes to return home, with Levante among the interested clubs.

Wenger will try to offset those potential losses with some last-ditch shopping of his own and West Brom defender Jonny Evans and Paris Saint-Germain winger Julian Draxler are among his mooted targets.

For Arsenal to be in such a panicked state is a huge blow to Wenger only three months after an FA Cup final triumph against Chelsea that the 67-year-old Frenchman hoped would herald a new era of sustained success.

The craven manner of Arsenal’s capitulation at Anfield, coming just a week after a disappointing defeat at Stoke, laid bare all the flaws that Wenger has been unable to fix in recent years.

Without a Premier League title in 13 years and absent from the Champions League this season following last term’s fifth-place finish, Arsenal are no longer a marquee destination for the sport’s top stars.

Now Wenger, who signed a new two-year contract in the close season, looks set to spend the remaining hours of the transfer window in damage limitation mode.

And former Arsenal star Ian Wright has seen enough, claiming it’s time for his old boss to step down.

“Where do we start? A number of things that are going wrong, it does come back to Arsene Wenger’s door. We’re three games in and we’re literally at crisis point,” Wright told the BBC.

“Do I think he should go? I would like him to go simply because I do not believe now that Arsene Wenger can motivate those players with everything that’s going on above him.

“We are three games in and it’s already an absolute nightmare.”

Five Things Arsene Wenger Must To Do To Restore Arsenal’s Fortunes

Arsenal was embarrassed by Liverpool in the 4-0 drubbing on Sunday. Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Firmino ran riot as the Gunners looked listless and shell-shocked. Jurgen Klopp’s charges harried, pressed hard and were incisive on the counter. They showed up the several frailties in this Arsenal side. The Arsenal manager would not have imagined his side so comprehensively outplayed. This broken Arsenal side is in need of several fixes. Here are five things Wenger should do:

Drop uncommitted players
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s inclusion in the starting line-up had all the designs of a ploy to pacify the winger cum wing-back into extending his contract. The England international reportedly turned down a £180,000 pounds deal to extend his stay at the Emirates. Chief in his misgivings has been his injury spate and a lack of extended playing time on the side. The 24-year-old is said to be pushing for a move to either Liverpool or Chelsea and still, Wenger put him in the starting line-up. Chamberlain looked half-hearted in some passages of play and Alexis Sanchez’s wry smile on the bench also suggested the Chilean’s heart may be set somewhere else.

Sign a midfielder
Granit Xhaka looks very far off from a quality midfielder charged with putting an end to Arsenal’s struggles in midfield. The Swiss did a horrible job shielding the defence, he won no tackle and managed to be worse with the ball at his feet. He was easily pressed off the ball and turned over possession in dangerous areas. Xhaka wasn’t helped by his partner in the midfield, Aaron Ramsey, who was more interested in haring forward. Ramsey hardly availed himself to help build from the back and was derelict in the defensive phase. Wenger needs to deep into the market to get a quality midfielder in the ilk of the legendary Patrick Viera.

Ditch three at the back
Playing with three at the back delivered measured success for Arsenal in the last nine games of last season, but this season, the tactic and its execution has been poor. Rob Holding looked lost on the right side of the back three, Nacho Monreal was not assuring on the left and returning Laurent Koscielny showed no leadership in the heart of the defence. With a formation that was supposed to guarantee security in the defence, the Gunner has shipped in eight goals in three games and it could get a lot worse if Wenger persists with three at the back.

Improve selection choices
Hector Bellerin played as a left wing back, Chamberlain was the right wing back, specialist wing back, Sead Kolasinac was dropped to the bench. Alexander Lacazette, bought for £45.6 million with 28 goals last season was dropped to the bench for Danny Welbeck, whose highest goal return in a season is pegged at nine goals. Wenger really does need to improve his choices in the selection of his team. Welbeck has presented a gilt-edged chance to put Arsenal ahead in the opening stages of the encounter against Liverpool but the forward skied it high, leaving all to question his inclusion in place of Lacazette.

Leave the club
The ‘Wenger Out’ brigade has been around for a while but maybe it’s time the Frenchman heed the cry of the fans. The longer he stays at the helm, the more it feels he is chipping away whatever legacy there was to be celebrated. Wenger could have left on a high after the FA Cup victory but he chose to extend his contract by two years. He has held out hope for too long looking to win the League title, maybe it is the time he takes that long, hard introspective look and then hands in his resignation.

 

Source: The Guardian

 

Wenger Confirms Alexis Readiness To Face Liverpool

The Manager and coach of Arsenal, Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Alexis Sanchez will be available for the club’s Premier League fixture against Liverpool on Sunday.

The Chile international attacker has not been available for the Gunners yet this season, with speculation continuing to circulate over his future.

Alexis has yet to sign a fresh deal with the Emirates Stadium club, meaning that he could depart on a free transfer next summer. The 28-year-old continues to be linked with a transfer to Manchester City before the close of the transfer window of August 31, yet it seems that he will feature for the London side this weekend. Arsene Wenger says:

“He is ready to play,” Wenger confirmed at his pre-match press conference.

“I will have to make that decision. Overall he looks in a good shape.

“He has always been focused on his job. He loves to play football and I don’t think he’s too much disturbed by all the noises. Players at that level are used to it now. Some deal with it better than others but I don’t think he’s too much bothered by that.”

The former Monaco boss also appeared optimistic over the prospect of an extension being agreed with the South American.

“The fact that he goes into the last year of his contract doesn’t mean we can’t extend it,” he said.

Wenger has numerous headaches with regards renewals, with Mesut Ozil, Alex Oxlaid-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere all out of contract at the end of the season, too.

Sanchez Saga Won’t Ruin Arsenal – Wenger

Arsene Wenger insists the Alexis Sanchez transfer saga won’t be a distraction to Arsenal this season despite the Chile forward’s refusal to sign a new contract.

Sanchez is out of contract at the end of the forthcoming season and he has shown no signs of accepting Arsenal’s offer of a lucrative new deal as he tries to engineer a transfer to a club in the Champions League.

Manchester City, Chelsea, Paris Saint Germain, Bayern Munich and Juventus have all been linked with Sanchez, but Wenger appears determined to hold onto the 28-year-old for the last year of his deal in the hope he can persuade him to stay for the long-term.

Arsenal midfielders Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are also in the final years of their contracts, yet when Wenger was asked if he was concerned, he made it clear he expects his players to stay committed.

“When you are a player you perform until the last day of the contract. Do you really think you sit in the dressing room before a game and say ‘oh I’ve only got a year to go on my contract so I won’t play well’,” Wenger said?

“If that was true we would sign everybody for 20 years. I’ve not convinced the length of the contract has any impact on the performance.

“I am amazed that you are surprised by that. It’s an ideal situation. Everybody has to perform.”

In the past, Wenger has sold the likes of Samir Nasri and Robin van Persie to avoid losing them for free when their contracts expired.

This time, Wenger is stubbornly sticking to his guns over Sanchez and, against all the evidence, the Gunners boss even claimed it was a good position for player and club to have only one year left.

“In the future, you will see it more and more, players going to the end of the contract. Why? Because transfers are so high even for normal players. Nobody will want to pay those fees,” he said.

“Nobody knows if Sanchez will extend his contract here. What can I do about that? One day he will go and Arsenal will go on.

“Of course I think he will stay. How many times do I have to tell you?”

 

Source: SuperSport

Arsenal Confirm Wenger’s New Deal

Long-serving Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has signed a new two-year contract, the club announced on Wednesday, ending months of speculation about his future.

Wenger has presided over a challenging season, which saw his team fail to qualify for the Champions League, but masterminded a stunning FA Cup final win over Chelsea last weekend.

The 67-year-old Frenchman’s new deal, which will take his tenure up to 23 years, is believed to have been rubber-stamped during a board meeting on Tuesday.

“I love this club and I am looking forward to the future with optimism and excitement. We are looking at what we do well and how we can be stronger everywhere,” Wenger told Arsenal’s website.

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

Arsenal said Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis had conducted “a full review of our on and off-the-pitch activities” to identify areas for improvement in view of a title challenge.

Majority shareholder Stan Kroenke said: “Our ambition is to win the Premier League and other major trophies in Europe.

“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 has a fantastic track record and has our full backing.”

The new contract brings to an end the most traumatic season of Wenger’s near 21-year Arsenal tenure.

ABSOLUTELY HORRENDOUS

Arsenal missed out on Champions League qualification for the first time in 20 years and was thrashed 10-2 on aggregate by Bayern Munich in the Champions League last 16.

Wenger has come under greater pressure from supporters than ever before, with fans holding ‘Wenger Out’ placards, boycotting home games and chartering planes to trail banners calling for him to go.

The dissent reached a crescendo during a run of seven defeats in 12 games between late January and early April.

Wenger’s switch to a back three enabled Arsenal to end the season in style, winning seven of their last eight league games before toppling Chelsea in last Sunday’s FA Cup final.

But he has been deeply hurt by the criticism he has received, branding the conduct of some supporters a “disgrace” and saying it created a “horrendous atmosphere” around the team.

Arsenal’s Wembley win against Chelsea gave them a third FA Cup in four seasons and made Wenger the first manager in history to have won the tournament seven times.

It is now 13 years since the last of his three Premier League title wins, however, while he has presided over a remarkable seven successive last 16 exits in the Champions League.

His key objectives for the close season will be to tie star duo Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil to new contracts and strengthen his squad for the rigours of a Europa League campaign.

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

“I am grateful to have the support of the board and Stan in doing everything we can to win more trophies. It’s what we all want and I know it’s what our fans around the world demand.”

 

 

Source: SuperSport

Wenger Determined To Retain Full Control At Arsenal

Arsene Wenger has ruled out working alongside a director of football if he stays at Arsenal, saying he must have full control of the Premier League club.

The Frenchman’s hardline stance puts him on a potential collision course with members of the Arsenal hierarchy who reportedly want to bring in a director of football this summer to work with Wenger.

Wenger has called the shots at the north London club since he joined in 1996 and said he had no interest in having his authority diminished, even as his future remains mired in uncertainty and with the fans restless.

“I’m the manager of Arsenal Football Club and as long as I’m the manager of Arsenal Football Club, I will decide what happens on the technical front, that’s it,” Wenger, 67, said on the eve of Wednesday’s league match at Southampton.

“I don’t know what director of football means. Is it somebody who stands in the road and directs play right and left? I don’t understand and I never did understand what it means.”

Wenger previously said that he had made up his mind about his future and would announce it in March or April, but no announcement was forthcoming.

His Arsenal contract expires at the end of this season and while a fresh deal is reportedly on the table, some Arsenal fans have called for his head after a disappointing run that saw them humiliated in the Champions League to Bayern Munich and fall out of the Premier League top four.

Asked Tuesday if he would now reveal his decision over whether to sign the contract, he replied simply: “No.”

Arsenal is in danger of failing to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in Wenger’s long reign, even though Sunday’s 2-0 win over Manchester United moved them to within six points of fourth-placed Manchester City with a game in hand.

While the Premier League and Europe have been a source of frustration, Arsenal will contest their third FA Cup final in four seasons later this month, while Sunday’s success saw Wenger, at last, get the better of Jose Mourinho at the 13th attempt.

“It gives us still a chance to go into the top four,” said Wenger.

Former United defender Phil Neville criticised the cordial way players from both sides were seen joking and hugging each other before kick-off, a far cry from the frosty atmosphere that pervaded his own encounters with the Gunners.

“I think I understand that the pundits are a bit surprised by that because 10 or 15 years ago that did not exist,” Wenger said. “But it is an overall, international thing now.

“You can watch Real Madrid against Barcelona – it’s the same because people play together, come from the same country.

“I was surprised as well I must say, but I must confess as well that it doesn’t stop the players to focus and concentrate after on the game.”

Arsenal, beaten 4-0 by Southampton in last season’s corresponding fixture at St Mary’s, travel to the south coast with a fitness doubt over Laurent Koscielny after the defender suffered a calf injury against United.

 

 

 

Source: SuperSport

Wenger Challenges His Players To Finish Strongly

Beset Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger challenged his players to win every game between now and the end of the season to keep alive faint hopes of a top-four Premier League finish.

Seven league wins is the only way the Frenchman reckons that Arsenal can secure a Champions League place after ending a run of four away league defeats with a 2-1 victory over struggling Middlesbrough on Monday.

“We have to win every game to have a chance to get in the top four,” said Wenger, who has yet to finish outside the top four in his 21-year reign.

“And that run starts with this win over Middlesbrough.

“The end of the season will come very quickly and it is up to us to finish strongly.

“We can do that, but also we will have to — had we not won against Middlesbrough I would have conceded that the top four was beyond us.”

Wenger switched personnel and formation as he looked to put an end to one of the worst runs in his managerial career — making six changes and playing three at the back for the first time since 1997.

“Yes, I did something I had not done in 20 years — but that just goes to show that even at my age I can still change,” he smiled.

“I went with three at the back to give more reassurance to the team especially as we were up against a team which we thought might have played a direct game.

“It was a committed game that we needed to win.

“I think because of their pride they made it a difficult first half and then when they came back at us and equalised, it was a test for us.

“It was tough for us because they are fighting hard to stay in the division and we might have ridden our luck on one or two occasions but I thought we were defensively stronger than previous games.”

Wenger’s tactics helped keep a determined Boro at bay and the Gunners won the game through goals from Alexis Sanchez in the first half and Mesut Ozil in the second — though Alvaro Negredo equalised for Boro five minutes after the break.

Wenger sensed uncharacteristic anxiety in his out-of-form players before the game, which he hopes will now have been overcome.

“We were a bit over-cautious against Middlesbrough but hopefully the win over them will now give us more confidence,” he said.

“There was a bit of nervousness in our dressing room before kick-off because we had not had a good run and that can happen — confidence in life goes away quickly and comes back slowly — but this result helps.”

There was some irony over the fact that Arsenal’s goal-scoring heroes were both players who have been linked with moves away from the Emirates this summer.

But after refusing to talk about his own future at the club, Wenger dismissed speculation about his two attackers.

“There has been speculation over both players but that does not enter into things when match-day comes because it is all about the game then and they will always give their all.”

For Boro boss Steve Agnew, there was the pain of another defeat but pride in the way his relegation-threatened players performed.

“The players were amazing, I couldn’t ask any more of them,” he said.

“I felt that when we scored we had Arsenal on the back foot and at that point we just needed the ball to fall to us.

“We all realise the task ahead now, we are six points off safety but we have a game in hand and a terrific goal difference.”