Gunners look to talks with Wenger about the future

08 October 2016 - 14:00 By The Daily Telegraph, London and AFP

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has predicted the club will make a collaborative decision with Arsène Wenger over whether he continues as manager beyond the end of next season. Wenger favours waiting until the end of this campaign before making a final call - as he did when his previous contract expired in 2014 - but Gazidis and Arsenal are confident that they will have time to prepare should their longest-serving manager decide to step down.Both the club and Wenger would ideally like the partnership to continue but are sensitive to the mood for change among some fans and the decision will almost certainly be defined by the team's performances this season.Although the England job could well be available to Wenger next summer, there has been little sign of him wanting to wind down into the slower pace of international management and he is thought likely to favour staying at Arsenal.But both Wenger and the board are likely only to regard a new contract as viable if the team strongly challenge this season in the Premier League or the Champions League. Arsenal are unbeaten since the start of the season.Arsenal began making provisional plans for life after Wenger several years ago and, while Eddie Howe is among the managers admired by senior figures at the club, the expectation is that no change is imminent."Arsenal is not Arsène Wenger," said Gazidis on Thursday. "They're not one and the same thing. He's been clear and we've always been clear, that's a mutual decision as to how long he'll continue. Both need to be on the same page on that. In a football sense, he has transformed the club."Meanwhile, former Arsenal star Robert Pires has said that Wenger would be an "ideal" manager for England.The Frenchman, 66, has been linked with the England manager's job after Sam Allardyce's departure and has said it might appeal one day."The English are thinking about it because they think he'd be the ideal person," Pires, who spent six years with Wenger at Arsenal, said at the Leaders Sport Business Summit."If they choose Arsene Wenger, knowing he's a good coach, that he speaks very good English and has a good image, he'd be the ideal man."I know Arsene a bit. He loves his club and his club is Arsenal. He's built lots of things with this club."I know he's getting near the end of his contract. For me, the best thing would be for him to continue with Arsenal."I think he'll stay, even if England are fluttering their eyelashes at him. It's just my opinion, but [I think he will stay] because he loves being on the pitch every day."

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