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Jun 6, 2013

Gazidis sure of Wenger commitment

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis said he believes that Arsene Wenger is committed to the club "for the long term" but could not offer any firm update on the manager's status beyond the end of next season.

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Wenger has been strongly linked with a move to succeed Carlo Ancelotti at Paris Saint-Germain in recent months, with suggestions that he may be tempted to make the move to the French capital when his Arsenal deal expires at the end of next season being floated in recent days.

Gazidis told journalists from the boardroom of Highbury House that he believes Wenger is still 'excited' by the club's potential, but was unable to confirm the club's most successful manager will continue beyond 2014.

"I really don't want to have a public discussion about Arsene's contractual position," Gazidis was quoted by the Evening Standard as saying. "That would be a daily, weekly fixture on the public coverage if you start getting into that.

"I don't even want to say [we have discussed a new contract]. What I will say is that we think we have got a fantastic manager. We have got a lot of confidence that Arsene is the right person to take the club forward and I think he will want to do that. We hope that he wants to do what he is doing for the long term. I believe he does.

"I think he is still ambitious, still driven and sees the potential of the club as he looks forward and I think he is very excited by that. We have a great relationship and he has a great relationship with the board as well.

"This is going to happen very quietly behind closed doors, privately and then there will be an announcement when things are all put in place."

Gazidis moved to dismiss suggestions that the uncertainty over Wenger's future would affect the club's ability to sign top players in the transfer market in the coming months, as he claimed the stability at the club is one of the chief selling points for potential new arrivals.

"If you are asking me, is (Wenger's future) an issue with players, the answer is 'no'," he said. "It is far more an issue with players signing at other clubs than it is at Arsenal. If players have that on their issue list, I think that's a mark in our favour, not against us.

"I think players that are concerned about uncertainty probably think about Arsenal as the most certain place they could be in the world of football. So if it's consistency players are looking for, I think Arsenal would be a very attractive place to come.

"This is a club that has had remarkable consistency in terms of its manager, its football philosophy, its direction and the consistent support from the board and our principal owner for our manager is pretty much unmatched, through some difficult periods as well."

Gazidis went on to suggest that what he describes as a relatively slow start to the summer transfer scramble amongst Premier League clubs was due to the numerous managerial changes at top-flight clubs and would not be drawn on Arsenal's possible summer targets.

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