Belfast Telegraph

Kroenke defends struggling Wenger

Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke has given his unequivocal backing to manager Arsene Wenger and declared: "Arsene's our man."

Wenger has been in the spotlight following the north London side's poor start to the season as well as their failure to secure any silverware since 2005. The departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri have also added to a feeling of unrest but Kroenke remains a staunch supporter of the Frenchman.

Kroenke told the Daily Telegraph: "Maybe it is one of those times when we have to work our way through, maybe with some young players. Arsene has been really good at developing these guys, people like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere. There are some really good players that Arsene thinks can be special."

He added: "Sometimes you go through periods like that. Arsene's our man. As an owner, that's who we put our confidence in."

Kroenke also insists it is up to the Frenchman how long he wants to continue as manager at the Emirates Stadium.

He said: "With Arsene, it's his decision and only he will know that. He still maintains himself in tremendous physical shape. You have to have stamina and energy. Arsene has great energy and that will always be his decision."

Fabregas' protracted move back to Barcelona finally came to fruition this summer when the Spain midfielder switched to the Nou Camp in a £35million deal.

Fabregas arrived at Highbury as a teenager in 2003 and Kroenke revealed the decision to not stand in the former captain's way was down to the manager, as was Nasri's departure for Manchester City.

"That was between Arsene and him," the American explained. "I like the kid but I'm not going to change his mind. Arsene made the decision. If we wanted to be really hard about it, we could have done but Arsene believed that it was the right way to do it.

"I also get it on Nasri. If we didn't do something on Nasri people would be looking at us next summer and saying, 'Why didn't you do this?' We bought in a lot of resources that we can use on other players. I honestly didn't make the decision on Nasri. Of course the board talks about these things but at the end of the day, that's for Arsene."

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