Football: Arsene Wenger relaxed over new Arsenal deal

Football: Arsene Wenger relaxed over new Arsenal deal

LONDON - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on Friday insisted that he is in no hurry to sign a new contract with the English Premier League leaders.

Wenger, 64 on Tuesday, is in the final season of his current contract with the north London club and it was reported earlier this week that he had agreed terms on a new deal which would keep him at the Emirates Stadium until 2016.

Arsenal have repeatedly made it clear they want the Frenchman, who took charge in 1996 and is now the Premier League's longest-serving manager, to remain with the Gunners.

Wenger, however, said that now was not the right time for him to be involved in detailed contract talks and that he wanted to focus his attention on the team, although he did confirm he had been offered a new deal.

"Yes, I didn't deny that (that a contract had been offered)," he said ahead of Arsenal's match at home to Norwich on Saturday.

"I just said what I said at the start of the season and nothing has changed.

"I believe that when you are manager at the club, you have to prepare for the long term always and act like you would stay forever.

"I believe that what is important is the next game."

For Arsenal, that means facing a Norwich side who are 18th in the 20-strong Premier League and who have lost four of their seven league matches so far this season.

However, Wenger - looking to guide Arsenal to a first major trophy since 2005 - was wary of the threat posed by Norwich.

"We have learnt something in the last 18 months, that the Premier League has changed, that every single game is a potential danger for any team in the league and the recent results in the Premier League have confirmed that.

"Every team who is favourite today is on its toes because they know every game is a potential danger."

Club record signing Mesut Oezil is expected to be fit following a minor knee injury but the Germany playmaker could be on the bench ahead of next week's Champions League tie against Borussia Dortmund.

Midfielder Santi Cazorla (ankle) and full-back Bacary Sagna (hamstring) are available but England forward Theo Walcott is likely to be sidelined again following abdominal surgery.

Despite rarely having had a full-strength squad to select from this season, Wenger's side still find themselves top of the table, on goal difference from Liverpool, heading into this weekend's fixtures.

"You want all of your best players to play together in a very positive way, which is what will happen," Wenger said.

"I am very happy with the team who has played until now, so we do not expect anything special (from the players returning to action).

"What is important is that instead of focusing on one or two players, we focus on developing ourselves as a team and our team play, where there is still room for improvement.

"There is still the desire within the team to improve that."

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