The Frenchman has been linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain this summer but is keen to stay in north London regardless of whether the Gunners finish in the top fourBy Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent
Arsene Wenger has no plans to leave Arsenal this summer as the club press ahead with preparations to extend his 17-year reign, Goal.com understands.
A report on Tuesday claimed that Paris Saint-Germain’s wealthy Qatari owners are confident of prising the Frenchman from the last year of his Gunners contract to enable him to replace Carlo Ancelotti this summer.
However, it is believed that Wenger is keen to stay at Emirates Stadium and sit down for formal contract talks with the club at the end of the season.
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The Frenchman has indicated that he wants to prolong his 17-year reign but has told the club of his desire to be re-united with close friend and former ally David Dein, who was ousted as vice-chairman in April 2007, so they can work together on signing new players this summer.
Goal.com understands that the Arsenal board remain committed to Wenger despite a rollercoaster campaign which will end with the club completing an eighth consecutive season without winning a trophy.
Arsenal have climbed up the league table in the last three months, securing 26 points out of a possible 33, and will qualify for next season’s Champions League if they win their three remaining matches against QPR, Wigan Athletic and Newcastle United.
Wenger’s contract expires in June 2014 and there has been widespread speculation that he would not sign another deal, and could even leave this summer if Arsenal fail to attain a Champions League place.
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Despite reacting angrily to reports that he would be offered a new two-year contract, the Frenchman wants to stay at Arsenal for personal as well as professional reasons.
Wenger’s public stance is that he always honours his contracts and that no firm decision has been taken over his future beyond 2014.
Nevertheless, there is a growing possibility that he could put pen to paper on a new contract before the start of next season to end speculation about the direction in which the club are heading.
Senior Arsenal officials want Wenger to stay and develop a team around a British core of Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain supplemented by proven foreign stars in the mould of last summer’s key signings Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski.
Armed with the biggest kitty of his Arsenal reign, Wenger has already begun formalising his summer transfer plans as he prepares to recruit a new striker, goalkeeper, midfield anchorman, centre-back and right-back to replace the outgoing Bacary Sagna.
The new financial fair play rules have already squeezed the spending of Manchester City and Chelsea, and Arsenal believe the Frenchman can take advantage of this to build a squad genuinely capable of challenging for trophies.
Although Arsenal have not won a trophy since 2005, the board remain convinced in the abilities of Wenger and put far greater store in his record of top-four finishes and success in navigating the group stages of the Europe’s flagship competition year after year.
The club’s longest-serving manager is also appreciated by the board for maintaining the club's elite status either side of the move from Highbury while having a transfer budget that was dwarfed by the club's rivals.
The north Londoners' high command are also convinced that new commercial deals, such as the recently-announced £150million Emirates contract that is front-loaded to come into effect this summer, leave Arsenal even better positioned in the medium and long term than they are now.