Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Wenger weathers storm with full backing of Arsenal chiefs

Arsene Wenger has been given the full backing of Arsenal's majority shareholder Stan Kroenke and the club's board in the aftermath of his team's crushing 8-2 defeat at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Support: Arsene Wenger has the backing of the board

For the first time in Wenger's 15 years in charge of Arsenal there have been serious questions raised outside the club about the viability of his long-term project at the club, especially in the light of a summer of playing trading that has left Wenger cash-rich, but light in terms of experienced, top level players following the departures of both Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas.

Yesterday a source at the club said that there was no question of Wenger's position being unstable in spite of Sunday's defeat to Manchester United which leaves the club with one point from their first three games. A source close to the club board said yesterday: “The club is 100 per cent behind Arsene. The guy has given us 15 years of unprecedented success and that is not going to change. It is not even an issue.

“Everyone is right behind him from Stan [who owns 63 per cent of the club] to Ivan [Gazidis [the club's American chief executive] and we are working hard to bring some players in before the end of the window [tomorrow].

“We have a strong squad and we believe that we are in a good place, we just need a few more in between now and our next game. There will not be any knee-jerk reactions and that comes right from the very top.”

The club envisage bringing in more than one signing and are confident that South Korea's international captain Park Chu-young will sign from Lille today.

They are aware that the striker, who is 26, is obliged to do two years' national service with the Korean armed forces. While the rules in Korea stipulate that it has to be done before the age of 28, it is Arsenal's understanding that Park will be able to give them three seasons before having to go back to Korea.

There is also still interest from Arsenal in the Sochaux midfielder Marvin Martin, a France international.

Given that Arsenal have been drawn in the same Champions League group at Marseilles, their proposed loan move for the Argentine midfielder Lucho Gonzalez, who plays for the French club, would now appear to be a non-starter.

They retain an interest in Yann M'Vila of Rennes, although the asking price is the key problem.

Arsenal announced yesterday that as compensation for the scale of Sunday's defeat the club were prepared to cover the cost of a ticket for another away game this season for those 3,000 fans in the away section at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The left-back Armand Traore, who played in the game on Sunday, has been sent on loan to Queens' Park Rangers.

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