• Premier League

Arsenal Supporters' Trust: Stop Wenger contract talks

ESPN staff
August 19, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Arsene Wenger was very disappointed to lose on Saturday

The Arsenal Supporters' Trust (AST) has expressed its opposition to Arsene Wenger being offered a new contract, with the fan group hoping the money will instead be used to strengthen the current squad.

Arsenal have failed to significantly bolster their squad this summer, with only Yaya Sanogo joining the club from Auxerre on a free transfer, and despite the club losing their opening Premier League match 3-1 to Aston Villa, speculation is increasing that Wenger will be offered a new contract.

However, AST believes the club should come before the manager.

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"Chief executive Ivan Gazidis has spoken of the intent to offer Wenger a new contract. We believe this is inappropriate," an AST statement read. "The entire focus must be on using the remaining days of the transfer window to strengthen the team significantly.

"Ambitious football clubs invest the money they receive from their fans, and sometimes their owners, to make themselves stronger. Arsenal supporters pay some of the highest ticket prices in world football, providing the club with considerable financial resources, but the ambition and ability to use them appear to be missing.

"The fact that there is money available for squad-strengthening is not disputed. The AST's independent analysis suggests that the amount is somewhere between £70m-£100m."

The supporters' group also wants majority share holder Stan Kroenke to have a more proactive role within the club.

"Stan Kroenke does not attend many Arsenal matches nor seem to have the time to devote to the affairs of Arsenal," the statement continued. "But it is clear to all that the football personnel he is ultimately responsible for are failing. The AST calls on him to appoint an independent expert to conduct a review of all football functions at Arsenal.

"Clearly the interaction between our scouting, negotiating and player purchasing processes are failing and need urgent improvement.

"A decision on whether to offer an extension to the manager's contract, which ends in May 2014, should only be taken following the closing of the transfer window and assessment of the team's performances.

"Considerable improvement must be shown for us to be convinced this should happen."

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