Wenger receives Kroenke backing

Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke has given Arsene Wenger a resounding vote of confidence and insists the Gunners manager will decide how long he wants to stay in the job. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, American tycoon Kroenke, nicknamed "Silent Stan" because of his infrequent public comments, gave unequivocal backing to Wenger following Arsenal's poor start to the season.

Wenger, who today marks 15-years at the helm, has faced criticism for the transfers of captain Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, as well as a series of poor results including an 8-2 defeat by Manchester United which have left Arsenal in the bottom half of the table. However Kroenke has brushed off complaints about Wenger's management, pointing to the Frenchman's long record of unearthing new talent.

"Maybe it is one of those times when we have to work our way through, maybe with some young players," Kroenke said. "Arsene has been really good at developing these guys, people like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere. There are some really good players that Arsene thinks can be special. Sometimes you go through periods like that. Arsene's our man. As an owner, that's who we put our confidence in."

Kroenke added only Wenger will decide how long he wishes to remain at the Emirates. "With Arsene, it's his decision and only he will know that," the Missourian said. "He still maintains himself in tremendous physical shape. You have to have stamina and energy. Arsene has great energy and that will always be his decision."

Kroenke also defended Wenger over the handling of Fabregas and Nasri's departures to Barcelona and Manchester City. "That was between Arsene and him," the American said referring to Fabregas. "I like the kid but I'm not going to change his mind. Arsene made the decision. I also get it on Nasri. If we didn't do something on Nasri people would be looking at us next summer and saying, 'Why didn't you do this?'"