Arsene Wenger has been through many phases of his career, once the unknown ‘professor’ who came to the Premier League from Japan, then the mastermind behind the Invincibles before earning his stripes as an Arsenal and Premier League legend after becoming one of the longest serving managers in English football. In spite of this incredible success which the Frenchman has experienced, the last 4 years have seen the manager’s star fade significantly as the football club has failed to replicate any of the success which fans have become accustomed to. This club’s decline was compounded last year when Arsenal failed to finish in the positions for the first time under Wenger’s tenure. Many fans felt he would leave last year after the pressure was turned up but Arsene signed a two years deal in the summer prompting many to suggest that he is tarnishing his legacy.
What The Bookies Say
The bookies are often the smartest guys in the room when it comes to managers coming and going but even they were surprised with Wenger’s signing of a new contract at the end of last season. This year Arsenal are once again odds-on to finish without a Champions League spot and if I were you I’d even take a punt on them missing out on top 6 after Everton’s heavy investment in the summer.
What the Fans Say
The fans are still very much divided but in recent years the ‘Wenger Out’ brigade have very much become the majority. Fans feel cheated by both manager and the owners of Arsenal who claimed for many years that a lack of investment was down to paying off the new stadium – but when the debt was paid, the investment didn’t come. Fans seem to care more about the desire which Wenger has created amongst his players, or lack thereof, causing the revolt to be felt throughout The Emirates.
Players generally do their talking on the pitch which does lead one to believe that they have lost faith in the one-time worshipped Frenchman. A perfect example of this was shown last year when want-away striker Alexis Sanchez made his feelings known publicly after failing to show up for games and then gesticulating on the bench when he wasn’t involved. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was once a potential talent for the club who switched to Liverpool in the summer and Wenger’s treatment of players like Walcott, and Shokran Mustafi has created a rift between manager and players, all is certainly not good when it comes to the Gunners team harmony.
Understandably the board have stayed with Wenger and supported him throughout, essentially giving him the decision to step down whenever he feels the time is right. Arsenal’s board seem to be happy as long as the money is still coming into the football club and Arsene is smart in the transfer market and despite his criticism, he does still win trophies, notably the FA Cup in both of the last two years which have brought in revenue.
Whilst the board may not be ready to rid themselves of Arsene Wenger yet, the fans most certainly are and the players appear to be nonplussed by the whole affair. The truth of the matter is that Wenger does not have a team that can compete for titles or Champions League success, and the Frenchman simply doesn’t have the time left to rebuild, day by day, Wenger tarnishes his outstanding legacy, one failure at a time.