Arsène Wenger has been offered a two-year extension at Arsenal and a decision on his future is wanted by October, according to the Times.
The news is a surprise, coming out just before a disappointing Premier League campaign comes to a close.
Wenger’s current deal expires at the end of the 2016/17 season and the report says Arsenal’s majority shareholder, Stan Kroenke, wants Wenger’s future settled by October so there is time to identify a replacement should the Frenchman decide not to sign a new deal.
In recent weeks, some Arsenal fans have protested against the manager. After almost 20 years at the helm, more supporters than ever are disenchanted and Leicester City winning the league title has only strengthened the arguments of those who believe the 66-year-old’s time is up.
Nonetheless, it’s clear the manager still has the trust of Ivan Gazidis and Stan Kroenke, as well as a strong working relationship with the two men, and is more than likely to be the one who decides when to leave.
The manager’s current deal expires at the end of next season but a two-year extension would take him to May 2019, when he will be almost 70.
There’s little doubt Arsenal owe a lot to Wenger and he cares deeply about the club but the longer he stays, the more it would make sense to offer shorter contracts in order to regular assess the performance of the side and the availability of regular replacements.
In truth, the club seem a little worried about a post-Wenger era and don’t appear to have much of a plan ready to put into place when the time comes.