LONDON: Arsenal have announced one new signing off the pitch and are preparing to confirm another.
On the day the Premier League leaders signed a five-season, £30m-a-year kit sponsorship deal with Puma so they hinted at being close to keeping manager Arsene Wenger on board beyond the end of his current contract expiry in the summer.
Chief executive Ivan Gazidis said: “Arsene will be extending [his stay] with us and at the right time we will make that announcement.”
Wenger, 64, has been in charge at the Emirates since 1996.
In his 18 years Arsenal have won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and four Community Shields, though they have not landed a major domestic trophy since 2005.
The kit contract has been described as the biggest such commercial deal in the history of both Puma and Arsenal. Puma will create Arsenal branded merchandise in a licensing agreement beginning in July.
Puma ceo Bjoern Gulden said: “Arsenal have been a key strategic target for Puma for a number of years now. Through a clear commercial vision, a well-defined sports marketing strategy and relentless enthusiasm, we’re proud to have signed this partnership with a global football club.
“As we enter a new era in our company history, Arsenal represents a major commercial and marketing opportunity to reinforce Puma’s credibility as a global sports brand. We have full confidence that the plans in place to activate this partnership will have a significant global impact.”
Gazidis added: “We are excited to be partnering with a company whose football heritage and record of innovation have a strong affinity with our own. This represents another important step forward in Arsenal’s progression on and off the pitch.”
Other Puma clients include the Italian football federation, Borussia Dortmund, Newcastle United, Sergio Aguero, Cesc Fabregas, Mario Balotelli, Radamel Falcao, Olivier Giroud and Yaya Toure.
** Fabio Capello has signed a new contract with the Russian football federtaion which will take him through to the country’s hosting of the World Cup in 2018.