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Wenger rejected £1m-a-year pay hike before committing to new Arsenal deal

The Gunners boss has agreed to a two-year contract extension on the same terms as his current agreement - despite the offer of a substantial rise

EXCLUSIVE
By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

Arsene Wenger rejected a £1 million-a-year (€1.2m) pay hike before committing to extending his Arsenal contract.

The Gunners manager is set to formally sign a two-year extension that was agreed in principle with club chiefs last October.

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Goal understands the fresh agreement will be on the same £7.5m-a-year (€9m) terms as Wenger’s current deal, after the Frenchman turned down the board's offer of a pay rise that would have lifted his basic salary to £8.5m-a-year plus bonuses.

It is believed that Wenger, who is the second-best paid manager in the Premier League after Jose Mourinho, felt that he is already well rewarded for his job.

However, the new deal will be supplemented by performance-related top-ups depending upon the team’s success. The Frenchman remains comfortably the top earner at the club, with his £145,000-a-week (€174,000) salary eclipsing that of Mesut Ozil, who earns £130,000 (€156,000) a week.

Wenger, who will take charge of his 1,000th match at the helm when Arsenal travel to title rivals Chelsea on Saturday, will extend his reign to a remarkable 20 years if his new deal is honoured, by which time he will be 66.

Goal revealed last October that Wenger had agreed a two-year contract extension and his backroom team have also committed to new agreements that will mirror those of the manager and run until 2016.

The key assistants include Wenger's long-standing ally Boro Primorac, assistant manager Steve Bould, first-team coach Neil Banfield, goalkeeper coach Gerry Peyton and fitness coach Tony Colbert.

Senior medical and technical staff have also agreed deals that run until 2016, while more junior members of Wenger's backroom team will remain on 12-month rolling contracts.

Arsenal have not yet announced the Frenchman's new deal and those of his backroom staff, but it is understood that the agreements are all in place and only need to be formally rubber-stamped.

Wenger retained the full backing of American owner Stan Kroenke and the rest of the board even when he came under more pressure last season from disgruntled supporters than at any point in his Arsenal career.

The Frenchman's position has been strengthened further by his team's fine record in 2013-14, with Arsenal still in contention to win the Premier League title and strong favourites to lift the FA Cup and end their nine-year trophy drought.

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