Wenger close to signing new Arsenal deal

LONDON - Arsene Wenger is close to committing his long-term future to Arsenal, re-inforcing his faith and belief in a young side that he is sure will win major honours sooner rather than later.

Wenger, who took over as manager in September 1996 and is now embarking on his 15th season in charge, turns 61 in October and will be out of contract at the end of this season.

The Frenchman told a news conference ahead of their opening Premier League game of the new season at Liverpool on Sunday that a new deal was on the table. "I have to show how much I believe in this team by showing my commitment," he said.

"My situation will be sorted out very soon. It is more a question about timing, and all the other ingredients which are in a contract will be easy to sort out.

"I believe my commitment to the club has nothing to do with the speculation of how the season would go, because that would be unfair," he said.

"If I do not do well, and one day the club is not happy with me I can completely understand that I do not stay here any more. But I believe we will do well."

Wenger has won three league titles and four FA Cups with Arsenal and also steered them to the Champions League final in 2006 where they lost to Barcelona.

He won the FA Cup and League Double in his first full season, while his "Invincibles" side finished the League season unbeaten in 2003-04. However they have not won a trophy since winning the FA Cup in 2005.

Wenger added: "What will be success is to improve from last year, which is to win the league - that is the only benchmark. You cannot finish third and then say for the season after, you want to finish behind that.

"We are a young side and the improvement is natural - the ambition is there, we are hungry for success."

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