Belfast Telegraph

Arsenal set to announce decision on Wenger future on Wednesday afternoon

Arsenal are expected to announce whether Arsene Wenger will continue as their manager on Wednesday afternoon.

The FA Cup winners are refusing to confirm widespread reports that Wenger, 67, has agreed terms on a new two-year contact at the Emirates Stadium.

Wenger's future has been up in the air for much of the season as both he and the club refused to publicly announce their intentions.

The Frenchman has been at the helm for almost 21 years and, despite a section of supporters calling for him to depart this summer when his contract expires, he is now expected to further that stay after holding talks with Arsenal's board on Tuesday.

Having failed to qualify for a Champions League place for the first time since 1996, the pressure on Wenger's future undoubtedly increased with the Frenchman previously admitting that the continuing uncertainty led to an "absolutely horrendous" environment at the club this season and contributed to their fifth place finish in the Premier League.

Wenger added: "Once the game starts and you are a fan, you stand behind the team, that is what I have not accepted this season and I will never accept it.

"Outside of the game I never had any word with any journalist in 20 years when they criticised my decisions and it is the same with the fans.

"But when a game starts you support your team. We have played some games in a hostile environment and I never accept that."

Nine wins from their final 10 matches saw the Gunners turn what looked like a disappointing season into a somewhat positive one with Saturday's FA Cup success moving Arsenal ahead of Manchester United as the most successful team in the competition's history.

Following that victory at Wembley, Wenger was asked if he would be preparing a presentation ahead of the meeting and the Frenchman said: "The best presentation is to watch the game.

"I've played until the end of my contract, which is today basically. I think I have shown you that I have exactly the same commitment.

"For me, the contract does not have special meaning but, because of the debate, maybe I should have sorted that out earlier."

The longstanding uncertainty over Wenger's future at the club led to planes carrying anti-Wenger slogans, boycotts of home games and signs and banners being displayed inside stadiums during away games.

In the midst of those protests, the club endured a turbulent spell as Arsenal crashed out of the Champions League following a 10-2 aggregate defeat to Bayern Munich in February and suffered crushing away defeats against Liverpool, West Brom and Crystal Palace.

Despite beating Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final, Arsenal's superiority over rivals Tottenham all but ended with a 2-0 defeat in the north London derby as Spurs went on to finish above their neighbours for the first time since 1995.

However, Arsenal would reel off four consecutive league wins to push the fight for a top-four place until the final day and despite a 3-1 victory over Everton, the Gunners missed out by one point.

Earlier on Tuesday, former Arsenal striker Ian Wright spoke of his fears Wenger could leave the Gunners "totally in the lurch" by walking away this week - fears that could soon be allayed.

Arsenal's second highest goalscorer of all time says it has been "total incompetence" to have allowed this situation to have arisen.

Writing in his column in The Sun, Wright said: "I've got a nasty feeling Arsene Wenger will walk away from the Arsenal job today, leaving the club totally in the lurch.

"And you would have to say it would serve them right, because there has been absolutely no forward planning for the day when he finally left the Emirates.

"The only way the board should have let him run down his contract is if they had private assurances he was staying.

"Otherwise, it is total incompetence to get to this stage."

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