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Arsenal says Wenger to sign new deal with club

AP - Sports
Arsenal says Wenger to sign new deal with club
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Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger, right, gestures with his hands as he talks to his players during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Everton at the Emirates Stadium in London, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

LONDON (AP) -- Arsene Wenger will manage Arsenal for a 19th season after the club said Monday he will be signing a new contract.

The 64-year-old Frenchman, who has been in charge since 1996, had been reluctant to publicly commit to a new deal, but chief executive Ivan Gazidis said that will happen soon.

Gazidis described the 64-year-old Wenger as the ''right person to see us forwards.''

''We have always supported Arsene, the board has always been completely behind him as has (owner) Stan Kroenke, and Arsene has always been committed to this football club,'' Gazidis said. ''So we are comfortable with the position, we are relaxed about it ... Arsene will be extending with us. And at the right time we will make that announcement.''

Signed from Grampus Eight in Nagoya, Japan, Wenger has three Premier League titles and four FA Cups championships with Arsenal but hasn't won a trophy since 2005.

''This football club is the football club of his life,'' Gazidis said.

Arsenal leads this season's Premier League and remains in contention in the Champions League and FA Cup.

Wenger's financial power in the transfer market will be enhanced by Arsenal signing its biggest-ever commercial deal.

''The money from this deal will be available to the club from this summer,'' Gazidis said at the Puma announcement Monday. ''It represents an important step in our progression on and off the pitch.''

Arsenal's revenue in 2012-13 was 243.6 million pounds ($404 million), the eighth highest in soccer, Deloitte said last week.

''One of our long-term goals has been to increase commercial revenues and there is a football reason for that - from the summer onwards the money will be available for the manager to spend how he sees fit,'' Gazidis said. ''We have a vision to be competing at the top of the world's game, but we don't get there overnight. We are doing it our way, without relying on any single individual, on an independent path.''

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