Arsene Wenger is the right manager to lead Arsenal forward, the club’s chief executive Ivan Gazidis has said, despite doubts over the Frenchman’s contract at the Premier League club.

Wenger, 66, has one year remaining on his current deal but has not yet committed to extending it. He took over as Arsenal manager in 1996 and has led them to a top-four finish in every season since.

Gazidis said: “The reason we have Arsene as our manager is because our board believes he can deliver success.

“He is going to be managing us next year and we are planning and making many decisions for the long term.”

Fiorentina pushing for Bartra – reports

Reports in the Spanish media said central defender Marc Bartra will be joining Fiorentina on a two-year loan from Barcelona this summer.

According to Sport, Bartra is set to extend his contract with Barca but will be playing elsewhere for the next couple of years as it has become difficult for him to break into the first team.

Fiorentina, the Sport report said, are the only team prepared to take Bartra on board with the conditions imposed by Barca as other interested clubs, including Villarreal, have opted out.

Taylor heading for Newcastle exit

Newcastle defender Steven Taylor will leave St James’ Park when his current deal expires at the end of the month.

Taylor, 30, has spent 13 seasons on Tyneside and made his 268th and final appearance for Newcastle in their 5-1 win against Tottenham on the last day of the season.

“Steven has been a very good player for this club for a long time and his character and personality has always been very positive, including during difficult times,” manager Rafael Benitez said.

Stubbs not interested in Hibs’ Cummings

Alan Stubbs will not perform a raid on Hibernian for Jason Cummings out of respect for his former club.

The 44-year-old left Easter Road this week to take over at Rotherham and has been linked with several of his former players, including Cummings.

But after leaving Hibs on good terms, he is not prepared to sour that relationship by snatching their best players.

“I have left on good terms and for me to go back there right now is not morally the right thing to do,” Stubbs said.

“I wouldn’t do that because I have got too much respect and admiration for the club.”

Stubbs’s first job in his new role will be to talk to out-of-contract players who were offered new deals by the club on the advice of former boss Neil Warnock.

Barca confident over Neymar deal

Barcelona are convinced Neymar will commit his long-term future to the Nou Camp as protracted negotiations between the Spanish champions and the striker continue over an extension to his current deal, which expires in June 2018.

The 24-year-old forward, who just completed his third season at Barca, has attracted the attention of several leading European clubs but his present employers are keen to play down talk that Neymar could leave.

“Neymar will stay. He will reach an agreement with Barca and he will be here for a long time. The club will make it public when the extension is to be made,” Barca sporting director Robert Fernandez said.

Giggs set to leave Man. United – report

Ryan Giggs will leave Manchester United in the close season to explore opportunities in management away from the club, Sky Sports reported yesterday.

Giggs has been at United for 29 years and served as interim player-manager when David Moyes was sacked in 2014 and as an assistant coach under Louis van Gaal.

Jose Mourinho, who was announced as Van Gaal’s replacement last week, is bringing his own management team to Old Trafford with his long-time assistant Rui Faria set to take up the role that Giggs has filled.

Robbie Keane will be fit to face Belgium

Robbie Keane cannot guarantee he will be fully fit to face Sweden in Ireland’s first match of Euro 2016 but has no doubts he will be ready for the game against Belgium five days later.

The 35-year-old LA Galaxy forward, who has scored 67 goals in 143 appearances for Ireland, was named in manager Martin O’Neill’s squad for the tournament despite suffering a calf injury in training last month.

“It’s never nice when you get injured, particularly at this stage because of the European Championship,” Keane said.

“I thought it was going to be a lot longer but they’re saying a couple of weeks, which would maybe get me for the Sweden game or maybe if I miss that one I would definitely be ready for the second game.”

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