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Last Updated: Monday, 16 July 2007, 16:58 GMT 17:58 UK
Arsenal optimistic on Wenger deal
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Wenger has been at Arsenal since September 1996
Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood is optimistic manager Arsene Wenger will agree a new contract with the club after the two parties held talks.

Speculation has been rife that the Frenchman, 57, would quit his post at the end of the season, after more than 11 years in north London with the club.

Hill-Wood said: "Hopefully in the near future we'll have something positive to say. I'm confident he'll stay.

"We had a fairly lengthy conversation recently and that went very well."

Hill-Wood has also dismissed talk of a summer of discontent at Arsenal.

Wenger has sold talismanic compatriot Thierry Henry and there have been reports midfield lynchpin Cesc Fabregas could follow him out of the door.

But the Spaniard has committed his future to the club and Hill-Wood says the club is set up to challenge for honours over the course of the coming campaign.

"I believe we've never been in a better position," said Hill-Wood, chairman of the club since 1982. "I think the team is absolutely first class.

"We had some very good results last year against the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea, the sides we didn't overhaul in the league but played pretty well against when we faced them.

22JuneLongLive Henry

"It's a young side still but they're a year older now so they're going to be that much better.

"If you tune in to the media, you would believe that it's been a difficult summer but I think people have not really looked behind what's happened.

"I'm very relaxed. I think we've got a very good squad and we've added a few players, most of them not names people have heard of before.

"But that's very much Arsene Wenger's style. People hadn't really heard of Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira or Cesc Fabregas before they arrived."

And Hill-Wood has rubbished suggestions that the Gunners are being hampered by the financial burden of their new home at the Emirates Stadium.

"It's actually the reverse," he insisted. "Relocating to the Emirates has increased the income of the club.

"The stadium has not held Arsenal back at all in terms of bringing in players.

"It's actually given us the opportunity to compete with the biggest clubs in the world.

"If we had stayed at Highbury that would have limited our resources and over the long term affected our ability to financially compete with the top sides."

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