Arsene Wenger in £40m swoop for Riyad Mahrez after agreeing two-year deal to stay at Arsenal

Arsene Wenger in £40m swoop for Riyad Mahrez after agreeing two-year deal to stay at Arsenal

Wenger will retain complete control of all player recruitment, scouting and coaching after finalising plans with owner Stan Kroenke.

The manager has won his power battle with the board — heading off plans to bring in a director of football.

Wenger, who landed his seventh FA Cup on Saturday, will have racked up almost 23 years with the Gunners when this deal expires, having taken charge in September 1996.

And he now has a smooth path to mould an Arsenal side that can challenge Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham next season.

There is however a commitment to move more quickly over player recruitment and contracts.

As well as targeting two new big-hitters, Wenger faces a fight to persuade his current main men, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, to stay at the club.

Both players have only a year left on their agreements.

Sanchez, 28, is wanted by Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain.

And it is believed that the Chilean hitman is keen on making a move to Germany this summer — even though Wenger is staying.

The striker does not think that Arsenal are competitive enough any more, having missed out on Champions League qualification.

German schemer Ozil, also 28, is thinking about running his contract down, so he could then leave the Emirates on a free transfer next summer.

Wenger could be persuaded to enter the bidding war for Leicester’s Algerian forward Riyad Mahrez, who yesterday handed in a written transfer request.

The Foxes will want at least £40million for the player, who they signed from French side Le Havre for £400,000 in 2014.

Mahrez, 26, was a key part of Leicester’s squad as they won the title last year and then reached the Champions League quarter-finals this season.

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