Arsenal have confirmed that manager Arsene Wenger has extended his contract at the club until 2019.
The Gunners made the announcement on Wednesday.
The new deal for the man who has spent over 20 years at the club was approved after a private meeting between Wenger and majority shareholder Stan Kroenke in a secret location on Monday.
Details of the Frenchman’s contract were then confirmed 24 hours later in a boardroom meeting.
Wenger’s future has been shrouded in uncertainty for the entire 2016-17 season, with Arsenal finishing fifth in the Premier League table to accelerate rumours that a managerial change was going to take place.
It is the first time that the north Londoners have failed to qualify for the Champions League under Wenger – a competition that once again ended in disappointment for the Gunners in the current campaign after they were humiliated by Bayern Munich back in March.
Arsenal did, however, claim FA Cup glory after a 2-1 win over Chelsea, with the announcement over Wenger’s extension now having arrived four days after that success.
Demonstrations and protests from various fans against Wenger’s reign have been commonplace over the season, with the likes of Thomas Tuchel, the now unemployed former Dortmund manager, and Eddie Howe having been mooted as possible replacements.
But Wenger clearly maintains support at boardroom level and will now look to step up preparations for the 2017-18 season, with the club’s supporters undoubtedly keen to see their team challenge for the title.
Extending the contracts of star duo Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, who both have one year remaining on their current deals, will be a top priority for Wenger in the summer months.
Arsenal return for pre-season training in the first week of July before jetting off to Australia for matches against Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers respectively.
Owner Stan Kroenke insists that Wenger can continue to take the club forward as they aim to return to English football’s top table.
“Our ambition is to win the Premier League and other major trophies in Europe,” Kroenke said.
“It’s what the fans, players, staff, manager and board expect and we won’t rest until that is achieved. Arsene is the best person to help us make that happen. He has a fantastic track record and has our full backing.”
Meanwhile, Wenger has vowed that, with the support of the fans, he can help take the club to the next level: “The message to the fans is in aid of the club. Let’s be together to support our players, to support the club and all give our absolute best to be at the level that we want to be.
“We can move up to the next level, I’m convinced of that, by having faith in the way we want to play football and by supporting the players we have already.
“Of course we’ll try to strengthen our squad to be stronger next season, but we want to be faithful to the way we want to play the game. We want to support this way [of playing] all together.”