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50-50 Challenge: Real Madrid vs. Barcelona

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By ESPN Staff
Jul 17, 2007

Wenger to delay appointment of key role

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is likely to wait until the Premier League season starts before appointing a director of football at the Emirates Stadium. Wenger has been looking for a new man to work with since the departure of David Dein as vice-chairman in April but is willing to wait in an attempt to keep a settled atmosphere over the summer. Club scout Gilles Grimandi is considered the front-runner for the new post, with Reading's Nicky Hammond also suggested as a suitable candidate. In the meantime, long-serving Arsenal director Ken Friar has been working with Wenger. ``I wanted to do it before the end of the season when I started buying and selling,'' said Wenger. ``But then I thought that now is the worst time because I have no time to tell someone how I want to do things. ``I did not want to unsettle the team before the end of the transfer market. So at the moment I work with Ken Friar and it is working well for us.'' Part of Dein's role at Arsenal was to do, as Wenger called it, the ``ugly part'' in transfer negotiations. He formed a link between the boardroom and the dressing room and his departure was one of the reasons Thierry Henry cited when leaving the club for Barcelona, claiming the team and manager had been ``de-stabilised``. Lukasz Fabianski, Eduardo Da Silva, Havard Nordtveit and Bacary Sagna have arrived in the summer as Arsenal plan for the post-Henry era, although the most important signing would be for Wenger agree a new contract. The Frenchman's current deal expires at the end of the coming season, with negotiations under way. ``For me, I think he will stay,'' said defender Kolo Toure. ``Mr Wenger brings something special to this club and to keep him would be a great thing. ``We need to win some trophies and I'm sure Mr Wenger will bring lots of trophies to the club.'' Despite Henry's departure and suggestions this could be the season when Arsenal could slip out of the top four for the first time under Wenger, there remains optimism among the players remaining. ``We have all progressed mentally,'' said defender Toure. ``We know what was wrong last season and have worked on it. We are focused and we know we can do something. ``We've played together for a long time. Each player has a big role and we're confident. We've all progressed together and we know we're going to make it.'' The Gunners took points off Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool last season but Toure feels there was a lack of consistency. ``We showed we can make it,'' he added on Arsenal TV Online. ``If you can beat Manchester United you can beat any team in the league. ``Maybe sometimes what we missed was being focused on the game through the whole season. To be the champions you need to concentrate for all the games. ``We can only get better. When you are young you learn from your mistakes - next season we will be better than last season, you will see a different team.'' Toure believes Arsenal will remain focused despite the loss of Henry. ``Titi (Henry) was our captain. When you miss someone very important from your family you are always sad but that is part of the job,'' said Toure. ``We have to forget about it and think about what will happen and who takes his place.''