Arsene Wenger 'honoured' to have Stan Kroenke's Arsenal backing

Arsene Wenger feels 'honoured' by backing of Stan Kroenke

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he is "honoured" to receive the backing of owner Stan Kroenke and that it would not take much to extend his reign.

Kroenke has said he is proud of 63-year-old Wenger and wants the Frenchman to stay for the long term.

Wenger has been managing the Gunners for 17 years but is in the final season of his three-year contract.

"The good thing with me is you don't need a lot of talks to extend the contract I have," he said.

Wenger, who was appointed Arsenal manager in October 1996, is the longest-serving Premier League manager.

The club have qualified for the Champions League in each of the past 16 campaigns, and although their most recent trophy was the 2005 FA Cup, Kroenke told the the Daily Telegraphexternal-link Wenger was part of his long-term plans.

"I am very honoured to have the support of Stan Kroenke - that is a huge confidence vote," Wenger said ahead of Saturday's trip to Swansea.

"I don't believe anyone can question my commitment to this club, I want to feel I do well and then the question of me staying will be secondary after that.

"I don't know where the last 17 years have gone. I always said our job is work like you are here forever and know it could end every day. What I would like to do as long as I am here is do my best because I love this club."

Wenger was criticised by some of the club's supporters who were unhappy that his only summer signing by the start of the season was 20-year-old French striker Yaya Sanogo on a free transfer.

The disquiet increased when the club lost 3-1 to Aston Villa, suffering a first home defeat on the season's opening day in 20 years.

But four successive league victories followed and the Gunners now top the table, with the signing of Germany playmaker Mesut Ozil for a club record £42.4m placating those who criticised Wenger's transfer policy.

"The group has shown a positive response," said Wenger. "I think five or six teams could challenge for the title - Liverpool, the top four of last year [Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal] and Tottenham. It looks like a more open title race at this moment.

"I am very grateful to this club because during the 17 years there have been ups and downs and they have always shown faith in me. I turned many offers down because I rate what I have got here. I always thought this club was special."

The Arsenal boss insisted his team's on-field performances remained the priority and suggested signing a new deal would be a formality, thoughts backed up by Kroenke.

"There's no-one I feel more strongly about and he's doing a great job. Arsene knows how we feel," said Kroenke.

"We have been very supportive. We have never wavered. We are proud of him, proud of the club, the way the club is run and how it holds itself out to the world.

"Arsene knows how we feel, what our philosophy is, what we want to do and I feel like we are totally aligned.

"I think he wants to do it the exact same way as we do."

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