Wenger set to stay and steer young Gunners

ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger feels a “responsibility” for the club’s younger players and that is why he is likely to sign a new two-year contract later this week.

The Frenchman, who has been in charge since September 1996, has confirmed he expects there should be an announcement on negotiations “on Thursday or Friday”.

His current deal expires at the end of this season and there had been speculation that close ally and former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein’s departure from the board last April might make him think twice before agreeing new terms.

Dein last week sold his 14.58% stake in Arsenal to Alisher Usmanov and immediately became chairman of the Russian billionaire’s joint-owned company Red and White with the task of acquiring more shares.

But the off-field wranglings are of little concern to Wenger, who turns 58 in October, as he feels obligated to the side he is building and now looks almost certain to stay on.

When asked if he is still motivated to go on at Arsenal he said: “Yes absolutely. I am very motivated. With all the young players I signed, I feel a kind of responsibility.

“I am in talks with Arsenal. I can’t see any drawback to extend (my contract). There will be some news on Thursday or Friday.”

Wenger believes some of the rising stars have stepped up their game since the £16million (€23.6m) departure of talismanic striker Thierry Henry to Barcelona this summer.

He said: “We had a nice start to the season. We still have our technical game and we have a young team that has got a little more experience.

“We lost the star of our club, Thierry Henry, and so it has changed something indeed. But you know maybe it has pushed the youngsters to take on more responsibilities.

“It is a little early to take stock after three matches at home. Our real challenges will be away from home against the big teams.”

An extraordinary twist of the fixture list, however, has handed Arsenal a golden opportunity to establish a success-laden campaign.

They will now complete a run of nine consecutive matches in which they play outside London just once — in Romania against Steaua Bucharest in the second round of Champions League group matches on October 2.

Wenger has also warned if new Brazil-born striker Eduardo sticks to his previous form then he could be ready to “explode” for Arsenal.

“Slaven Bilic (Croatia coach) told me that in his first two or three games for the national team Eduardo was a bit inhibited but then he suddenly exploded,” added the Arsenal boss.

“For me Eduardo is a fantastic player.”

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