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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 18, 2007

Wenger hoping for contract resolution 'very soon'

Arsene Wenger accepts the speculation of a possible takeover at Arsenal means he is taking something of a 'gamble' in his new contract negotiations, but has no intention of looking for any get-out clause. The long-term ownership of the Barclays Premier League club continues to be the subject of much debate. Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has admitted he is interested in buying a controlling interest, while American billionaire Stan Kroenke is reported to be keen on upping his current 12.2% holding in the Gunners' parent company. Following the controversial departure of then vice-chairman David Dein towards the end of last season, the remainder of the directors who own 45% of the club signed an agreement not to offload any more stock for at least 12 months. Wenger, meanwhile, is currently in advanced negotiations over a likely contract extension, with his current deal set to expire at the end of the season. The Arsenal board have already declared their intention to retain the services of the man who has revolutionised the club since arriving in September 1996 for the long term. Wenger hopes a positive outcome can be announced 'very soon'. However, the Arsenal manager accepted hypothetically he could be faced with a change in the balance of power from those he had struck the deal with. Wenger, though, intends to take matters as they come, rather than worry about what may or may not happen behind the scenes. 'It is true that is a gamble I take,' he said, 'but when I take a gamble at some stage, it is with people who are in charge. 'They tell me certain things, and I believe or believe not, then I say `listen, I want to sign only one year'. 'It is down to me if I want a longer contract or not and there is a takeover, because I know from the moment I sign that it can happen.' Wenger, however, maintained he would not be seeking any get-out options to be weaved into his potential new deal. The Arsenal boss insisted: 'I hate clauses. 'I always refuse clauses, because if I sign, for example, a contract for three years, and in that I can move out after one year, for me that is not fair. 'If a player asks me that, I also refuse to sign this kind of clauses. 'You are either committed, or you are not committed. 'You cannot say `I want to a have long-term insurance, and also that I can move out when I can' - that is not right.' Wenger, though, has no intentions of becoming embroiled in anything other than footballing affairs. 'I have decided I do not want to be involved in that, because it creates unneeded disturbances for the team,' he said. 'For me the most important is that the financial situation at the club is healthy, and that the future of the club is safe. 'After I have a responsibility towards the fans and the players, who I tell `we want to do that, this is where we want to go'. That is as important as all the rest.' The search continues for a director of football to assist Wenger, currently supported by director Ken Friar. However, the Arsenal manager revealed that person 'may not be involved in the transfer deals' as his old ally Dein was. Wenger takes his men to Blackburn tomorrow looking to continue their promising start to the new campaign, following wins over Fulham and, in the Champions League qualifier, Sparta Prague. It is a much-changed scenario from what he was feeling 12 months ago. 'I was very frustrated because I felt we did not have the right commitment,' Wenger recalled. 'It [the team] reflects the personality of the manager. 'The manager has to try to be faithful to the qualities and traditions of the club. 'I would never ask the team to kick the ball in the stands. 'But I want the team to be faithful to the qualities this club has always had - to fight like mad until the last second of the game. 'That is why when we do what we have done against Fulham and in Prague, I feel somewhere I do my job well. 'When you feel that the team is not committed, I betray my fans.' Wenger added: 'I am optimistic. I believe in my team. 'But what is most important is that I can sit down at the end of the season and say with the team `we have done as much as we could'. 'If there is a better team than Arsenal, okay, hands up and congratulations - but the worst is that you think we could have done better.'

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