London (AFP) – Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke has made it clear he wants manager Arsene Wenger to stay at the club and end the Gunners' trophy drought.
French boss Wenger has already been at the north London side for 17 years. But Arsenal have now entered their ninth season without silverware, their last major trophy the 2005 FA Cup.
Wenger's contract is due to expire after the end of the current campaign and there has been speculation regarding the 63-year-old's long-term future.
But American businessman Kroenke, in a rare interview with Friday's Daily Telegraph, made it clear he wanted Wenger to stay in post.
"There's no one I feel more strongly about and I think he is doing a great job," Kroenke said.
"We have been very supportive, we have never wavered, we are proud of him, proud of the club, the way the club is run and how it holds itself out to the world."
Asked if Wenger was part of Arsenal's long-term plans, Kroenke replied: "That's exactly right. Arsene knows how we feel, what our philosophy is, what we want to do and I feel like we are totally aligned.
"I think he wants to do it the exact same way as we do."
The club record signing of Germany international Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid for ??42.4 million ($66 million, 50 million euros) was a departure from recent Arsenal transfer policy but Kroenke insisted it had not been motivated by the board.
"I really enjoy Arsene -- very smart, very intelligent. He has an absolute view on how he runs that team and the club. He has earned that right.
"Don't look for me to interfere with that. I have learnt over the years that sometimes owners try do that and it is not so good.
"We've always said that there are resources available. There are guys who say that we should push Arsene harder to spend. That's fair enough -- there are always lots of opinions but Arsene is an independent thinker and planner.
"He works very hard at it and has a wonderful record. He was trained in economics, my undergraduate study was in economics."
Kroenke -- whose other sports interests include running ice hockey team Colorado Avalanche, Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids and the Denver Nuggets NBA basketball side, rejected the view advanced by some Arsenal fans he is unconcerned about winning trophies with the Gunners.
"There would be nothing more thrilling," said Kroenke. "I'm not getting any younger," the 66-year-old added.
"It's something I would like to achieve. I've done it a couple of times in the US and it was unbelievable.
"For the players, for the coaches and the manager, as well everyone around the club, I can't imagine the level of excitement.
"The idea that no one cares or is passionate about that sort of thing is just beyond the realms of imagination."