Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho says it is “fantastic” that Arsenal are rewarding Arsene Wenger with a new contract despite their lack of silverware in recent years.
Gunners chief executive Ivan Gazidis said this week that Wenger, whose current deal is due to expire at the end of the season, will extend his 17-year stay at the club.
Mourinho, who has underlined the importance of stability and spoken of his desire to remain at Stamford Bridge long-term, said he believes that is the right decision, in spite of Arsenal’s failure to win a trophy since 2005 FA Cup.
The Blues boss told the media: “I’m happy that a club like Arsenal trusts the manager so much, gives him a new contract even without knowing if they are going to win the title.
“I think it’s fantastic to give that stability and that example. Maybe others will follow it. It’s a good thing. I think he’s one of the best managers in the game, and the fact that, in the last years, he couldn’t win a trophy doesn’t change what I think about him. I’m happy for him.”
Mourinho has recently appeared eager to reignite a war of words with Wenger that dates back to his previous spell in charge of Chelsea.
In 2005, the Portuguese memorably described the Frenchman as a “voyeur” after the Arsenal boss had repeatedly spoken about the Blues. In response to that remark, Wenger threatened legal action and said: “When you give success to stupid people, it makes them more stupid sometimes and not more intelligent.”
Despite further sniping between the pair in subsequent years, Wenger insisted last month that their relationship was now “respectful” and that there was no “personal battle.”
However, there has been further conflict in recent days, with Wenger questioning the fairness of Chelsea’s decision to sell Juan Mata to Manchester United midway through the season and Mourinho hitting back by accusing his counterpart of constantly complaining.
The Portuguese also claimed that the Gunners, who could be overtaken as Premier League leaders on Wednesday night, “always” have the “best days to play” fixtures, prompting Wenger to reply: “In the last five years, all the objective studies that have been made have shown that Arsenal have less rest than any other team at the top level in the top four. That’s facts -- nothing to do with my opinion.
“I don’t live with opinions, I live with facts. The facts are not depending on me, not depending on Mourinho, just on objective analysis.”