Arsene Wenger was celebrated by shareholders and fans alike at Arsenal’s 2016 AGM.
Before the meeting started, the Gunners manager, who celebrated his 20th year in charge on Arsenal this month, was presented with a framed portrait of himself made up of all 210 players the Frenchman had managed during his two decades in North London.
Stan Kronke also had some words to say about Wenger, saying: “You have always shown dedication, commitment and energy. You brought a new style to English football and our club. Amid a world subject to great scrutiny and pressure, you have always handled yourself with great class.
Wages hit new heights
Chief executive Ivan Gazidis, announced that Arsenal’s wage bill had risen considerably over the past six years, and claimed that Arsenal are now able to compete with some of the richest clubs in the Premier League in terms of player-wages.
Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Hector Bellerin have all been reportedly set to receive new contracts for their performances in the past 12 months, and Gazidis believes that Arsenal can hold onto the trinity of players.
On the subject of Arsenal retaining their top players, Gazidis said: “We have a good track record in recent seasons of retaining our key players, developing young players and attracting new players."
He added, “We are now beginning to compete in terms of wages with some of those clubs around us. There is continual growth in investment in wages but also in transfer fees.”
Wenger to stay on?
A new contract for Wenger was also discussed during the AGM. Sir Chips Keswick addressed to the audience: "We all recognise the fantastic contribution of Arsene Wenger, his huge energy, passion and desire, and we are confident of his ability to take us forward."
Keswick continued, "We will sit down and discuss his future at an appropriate time, but our current focus is our strong run and competing for trophies."
The tightest of seasons
To conclude the AGM, Wenger had some words on the 2016/17 Premier League season, and claimed that this seasons race for title will be tighter than ever, saying: “We are much more competitive today than five or six years ago to fight for the championship. After nine games, the first trend is set," he said. "It is about 20 points, which means the championship will be certainly decided at 82 to 86 points."
He concluded, “Our challenge is to compete for absolutely everything. I think we have the squad of the first time that is more mature and better equipped for to compete for all the challenges. I am absolutely committed to give my best.”