Friday Kickoff: Wenger signs new Arsenal deal; Barcelona linked with Koke; and more

Friday Kickoff: Wenger signs new Arsenal deal; Barcelona linked with Koke; and more

South American Soccer

Friday Kickoff: Wenger signs new Arsenal deal; Barcelona linked with Koke; and more

Arsene Wenger manager / head coach of Arsenal

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

It’s official. Arsene Wenger will remain Arsenal manager through June 2017. 

Following a report from the BBC, Arsenal confirmed on Friday morning that Wenger has signed a new three-year deal that will take his tenure at Arsenal to more than 20 years as manager. Wenger became Arsenal manager in Oct. 1996 after managing Nagoya Grampus in Japan.

“I want to stay and to continue to develop the team and the club,” Wenger said in a statement. “We are entering a very exciting period. We have a strong squad, financial stability and huge support around the world. We are all determined to bring more success to this club.

“The club has always shown faith in me and I’m very grateful for that. We have gone through fantastic periods and also periods where we have had to stick together. Every time when that togetherness was tested I got the right response. I think I have shown some loyalty as well towards this club and hopefully we can make some more history. I am sure we can.”

Wenger, 64, led Arsenal to a 17th consecutive UEFA Champions League spot as well as winning the club’s 11th FA Cup this past season. There was plenty of talk that Wenger could have left the club and he left a contract offer on the table, but he has decided he’s still fit to manage the club for another three years.

Here are some more stories to start your Friday:

BARCELONA READY TO PAY UP FOR KOKE

Barcelona is in full-on rebuilding mode this summer, and the club is willing to spend a major amount of money again this summer to return to their winning ways.

One player that’s on new head coach Luis Enrique’s radar is Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke, who is reportedly seen as a player who will soon take over for Xavi Hernandez in midfield. Acquiring Koke wouldn’t be cheap though.

Atletico are unwilling to sell Koke outright, and it will only take a bid of €60 million, Koke’s buy-out clause, to force Atletico to sell their midfield star. Koke, to his credit, told reporters in Spain he’s happy at Atletico and feels very comfortable at the club.

QUICK KICKS

Steven Gerrard has backed Wayne Rooney to have a big World Cup after the England striker received criticism from former teammate Paul Scholes. (REPORT)

UEFA has ordered a partial closure of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium next season due to racist chants from a section of Real Madrid fans against Bayern Munich. (REPORT)

Manchester City have reportedly made a £17 million offer for AS Roma starting centerback Mehdi Benatia. (REPORT)

Liverpool are just hours away from completing a £4 million move to sign Southampton and England forward Ricky Lambert. (REPORT)

Celtic are looking at former Man United midfielder Roy Keane as their next manager. (REPORT)

Arsenal right back Bakary Sagna has confirmed he will leave the club this summer, with Manchester City his likely destination. (REPORT)

The Mexican Football Federation ruled out a “major injury” for goalkeeper Jose de Jesus Corona though the veteran suffered a mild concussion and is wearing a neck brace. (REPORT)

Turkey topped Honduras at RFK Stadium, 2-0, thanks to two second half goals from substitutes. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? What is your reaction to Wenger signing a new contract? Do you see Koke moving to Barcelona? Think Rooney could have a big World Cup?

Share your thoughts below.

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