Wenger’s Glad Tidings For Shareholders
Arsenal supremo Arsene Wenger told shareholders of the club’s parent company, Arsenal Holdings plc, that he is “confident” talismanic club captain Cesc Fabregas would be at the North London club “for a few more years.”
Wenger also told his audience at the company’s AGM this week that he himself would be at the club “for as long as I can help this club to be successful.”
The meeting came on the back of the Gunners’ latest high-scoring success in the Champions League group stages, a 5-1 victory stroll over Ukranian champions Shakhtar Donetsk.
And Wenger’s men moved above troubled Manchester United into third place in the Premier League with a 3-1 come-from-behind Emirates success over Birmingham City, marred only by the dismissal new midfield teenage sensation Jack Wilshere.
Arsenal announced record pre-tax profits of £56m last year. And chief executive Ivan Gazidis gave an understandably upbeat presentation to the AGM.
All the club’s debts from the massive property development at their old Highbury ground have been paid, and Gazidis pledged that the future profits would be ploughed back into the squad.
Squad spending has been almost the sole issue of contention between Arsenal fans and their popular, long-serving French manager.
And Wenger once again urged supporters to be patient with the current side, saying: “I see a real opportunity to have great achievements this season – we have the spirit, talent, hunger and desire.”
But he admitted that he did not know how long centre-half Tomas Vermaelen would be missing from that side, after revealing that the Achilles tendon injury the Belgian suffered on international duty last month could be long-term.
Wenger reported: “First we thought it would be a question of days but now I cannot say exactly when he will play again.
He also spoke at length about captain Fabregas. Speculation continues, linking the 23-year-old talisman with a return to his home town club, Catalan giants Barcelona.
But Wenger told the Emirates Stadium gathering: “He is from Barcelona and has an attraction to where he grew up. But I believe he wants to win with this club.
“For how long, I don’t know but I’m confident we will keep him for a few more years.
“He deeply loves this club. If he did not love the club, he would have gone.”
Fabregas made a successful playing comeback from a month-long injury absence against Shakhtar, scoring Arsenal’s third goal from the penalty spot. England winger Theo Walcott also made an injury comeback as a late substitute.
Arsenal had five different scorers on the night. But the warmest reception was afforded to Shakthar’s 82nd-minute consolation, from former Arsenal striker Eduardo.
The Brazilian-born Croatian international suffered a badly broken leg at Birmingham in 2008 and never fully returned to the form which made him a popular figure.
So his neatly-taken half-volley was applauded all around the Emirates by fans, many of whom were waving and displaying banners with his name.
Arsenal visit big-spending Manchester City in a crunch EPL fixture this Sunday afternoon.
Tags: Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, Cesc Fabregas, Gunners, Premier League, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Vermaelen, Emirates Stadium, Theo Walcott, EPL