Arsenal still expects Arsene Wenger to sign a new contract but they have started planning for life without their manager. Wenger whose deal expires at the end of the season, has given the Gunners his word that he will stay on.
Talks initially centred on a three-year deal worth £8million a season but it is understood a two-year extension is now more likely. Wenger still enjoys the unequivocal backing of Arsenal’s majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, who is in no doubt the manager will sign a contract that has been on the table for months.
But Saturday’s humiliating 6-0 defeat at title rivals Chelsea has nonetheless sparked uncertainty about the Frenchman’s future.
And Arsenal have started looking at contingency strategies should he make a last-minute U-turn and quit the Emirates. A long-term plan for life after Wenger is also in the club’s thoughts, with a new-look management structure likely.
Roberto Martinez’s work in his first season at Everton has impressed the Gunners, as has Jurgen Klopp’s reign at last season’s Champions League runners-up Borussia Dortmund.
Implementing a two-tier structure, which would see a head coach working under a director of football, is under consideration and would represent a huge shift in ethos. Wenger currently has the final say on all football decisions at Araenal.