Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis confirmed on Monday that manager Arsene Wenger will sign a three-year contract worth £24million and get the go-ahead to invest heavily in the transfer market.
Frenchman Wenger has also been told to try to land German wonderkid Julian Draxler from Schalke this week. Gazidis confirmed Wenger is staying as he unveiled the club’s £150million partnership with kit manufacturers Puma.
That will be among a raft of commercial deals to support 64-year-old Wenger’s ambition. Gazidis said: ‘One of our long-term goals has been to increase commercial revenues so that we can invest in the squad. This is an important progression for our steps on the pitch and the money will be available from the summer for the manager to invest.’
He added: ‘Arsene will be extending with us and at the right time we will make that announcement. We are relaxed about it. We have always supported Arsene and he has been committed to the club.’
The five-year deal with Puma ends Arsenal’s 20-year association with Nike and is worth £30m per year.
Sportsmail revealed earlier this month that the Gunners are trying to capture attacking midfielder Draxler from Schalke ahead of Friday’s transfer deadline, a deal that will cost in excess of £30m.
It is clear after years of careful spending at the Emirates that the financial straitjacket has been removed.
The club record £42m deal to buy Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid was a clear indication that the club are ready to compete for the world’s top players and their move for 20-year-old Draxler underlines that point.
Meanwhile, Arsenal, who travel to Southampton in the Barclays Premier League tonight, have requested their forthcoming FA Cup fifth-round clash against Liverpool be played on Saturday, February 15.
The league leaders are facing the daunting task of four games in 12 days. A week on Saturday they take on Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool at Anfield, then host Manchester United four days later.
They want their FA Cup clash against Liverpool to be scheduled for the next Saturday to ensure ample recovery time between that game and a Champions League tie against Bayern Munich on the following Wednesday.
The nightmare scenario would be for the game against Liverpool to take place on Sunday. Broadcasters ITV and BT Sport were yesterday discussing plans for the fifth-round weekend.
Wenger says the football authorities in England are not doing enough to assist club’s involved in European competition. He said: ‘Are we doing enough to help English teams in the Champions League?
‘Let’s turn it around. You cannot do less — because they do nothing to help. In the other leagues they do help teams.
‘I’ve already suggested in UEFA meetings to make sure that in Champions League competitions the teams have the same amount of rest.
‘In some championships, for example in Portugal, they cancel the games sometimes before the Champions League matches.
‘Maybe it would be better that all of the teams in the competition have exactly the same amount of rest.
‘It’s difficult to say how much difference it makes. But, for example, if you have a player with a bad bruise on a muscle and he has only three days before the next game, one day more the player could play, one day less the player cannot play.
‘I don’t want to blame anybody, it’s just the way the fixtures are sold. It is the television today who decide. I cannot even blame the Premier League because it’s the television who have the last word.
‘If they say they want Arsenal v Liverpool on Sunday, it will be on Sunday. They pay the clubs lots of money, of course.
‘I can understand the television, but the question you can ask is the way it is sold. You could take £50m less and keep command.’
Written by Steve Milne