Arsenal tell Arsene Wenger he must accept restructuring of club - sources

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been told he must accept a radical overhaul of his backroom staff and the structure of the club if he wants to remain in charge for another two years, sources close to the club have told ESPN FC.

Sources have said that the delay in making a decision on the future of Wenger, who is out of contract in the summer, has been due to an internal move to try to ease the control he has built up over his two decades in charge.

Wenger may be reluctant to loosen his grip on control at Arsenal if he is to stay, having ruled out the possibility of the club hiring a sporting director as long as he remains manager.

Arsenal chairman Sir Chips Keswick and chief executive Ivan Gazidis have embarked on a project that is looking towards a future after Wenger's departure as they aim to put together a new structure for the club.

Wenger has been told that Arsenal want to revamp the club's scouting setup and have a new department that is not controlled solely by the manager.

They are also looking at the possibility of hiring a director of football to take over some of the duties Wenger has assumed since the departure of David Dein from the role of vice-chairman at Arsenal a decade ago.

Wenger has held talks over changes to his coaching staff, with club officials keen to see their manager have less of an overall influence.

Club officials are also determined to make some statement signings to quell fan unrest in a summer that could see the departures of key men Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, who are both out of contract at the end of next season.

Sources have told ESPN FC that Wenger made it clear to Arsenal officials as early as January that he intended to continue as the club's manager and a new two-year contract offer was presented to him.

However, the alarming slump in the team's fortunes in recent months -- highlighted by a 10-2 aggregate Champions League defeat against Bayern Munich and the prospect of Arsenal missing out on a top-four finish in the Premier League -- has inspired Keswick and Gazidis to bring forward their restructuring of the club.

Keswick and Gazidis have made no public comment on Wenger's future in recent months and are reluctant to give their full backing until they convince him to accept changes.

Arsenal want Wenger to oversee a transitional period for the club, with the prospect of withdrawing their contract offer on the table not yet an option.

Former Arsenal players Robert Pires, Jens Lehmann and Sol Campbell have reminded supporters of the successful days Wenger has inspired at the club.

Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has been outspoken in his criticism of Wenger in recent years and he suspects his former boss will not be willing to give up too much power at the club.

"He will accept changes to his coaching staff, but I'm not sure he will go with the idea of a director of football role," Merson told ESPN FC.

"I'm sure he will do everything he can to try and stay. What else is Wenger going to do? Without Arsenal, he hasn't got too much in his life, so he will want to stay. But I don't see him accepting a director of football coming in over him. I just don't see that.

"Of course he should go now, but I still don't see that happening. If he wasn't staying, he would have said he was going by now. If they are going to have a director of football, then I'd say bring David Dein back. He would get that club moving in the right direction again."