The Arsene Wenger quandary

There is an overriding feeling among many Arsenal fans that Arsene Wenger’s time at the club is up. Continued frustrations both on and off the pitch at the Emirates have certainly left much to be desired from a man who offered so much to the football club; and yet, the idea that Arsene Wenger is still highly coveted by almost every major club in Europe and could find a home at Real Madrid or PSG doesn’t quite sit well with Arsenal fans. There’s a sense of we don’t want him, but we don‘t anyone else to have him either. The irony being that every knows Wenger is still capable of pulling off equally impressive miracles at other clubs, much like he has done for Arsenal in the past.

In light of supporter unrest at both the Emirates and Real Madrid, there has, of course, been talk of Arsene Wenger replacing Jose Mourinho should the Madrid manager decide to leave at the end of the season. And despite the calls of “You don’t know what you’re doing” during Arsenal’s last game following an unpopular substitution, Arsenal fans immediately went on the defensive, hoping that Wenger won’t have has head turned by what’s on offer in Spain. For a lot of Arsenal fans there is still much faith in the Frenchman. Many feel he deserves to be given time to turn things around at the club and prove he is still the only man for the job. Yet the year-on-year frustration of a lack of trophies, watching the club’s best players walk out the door, and continued excuses for why the team are failing on the pitch has undoubtedly reached boiling point.

It’s a feeling that most Arsenal fans, I’m sure, will admit, but turning on Arsene Wenger was never intended to be the way the story comes to and end. Many thought that eventually, following the success of the youth project and the number of trophies won with Cesc Fabregas still at the club, Wenger would simply call time on his managerial career, take up a seat in the boardroom at the Emirates and leave a lasting legacy for his successor to emulate what he has achieved on the pitch. But even at the age of 62, you sense that there is still a lot to be offered from Wenger—who continues to turn down advances from other clubs, particularly in his home country.

There would also be a bitterness from Arsenal fans if the unthinkable happened and he left for a club with endless riches and proceeded to splash the cash in a way we never thought possible. Well what of all the money that is apparently gathering dust deep in the vaults of the Emirates? Should fans blame Wenger for not wanting to strengthen the squad accordingly, or does the blame lie elsewhere at the club? Is Wenger solely responsible for not improving the quality of doctors and physios at the club to manage the worrying regularity of injury to key players? And what of the coaching staff who have seemingly out-stayed their welcome and offer nothing to the exposed frailties of the first-team. There are a number of questions that remain to be answered and Arsene Wenger is taking the full force of frustration from the fans.

It would be a tremendous shame if Arsene Wenger simply walked away at the end of the season with so much uncertainty surrounding the club. It would be equally heartbreaking if he went on to another club and found immediate success while Arsenal struggled to find it’s feet.

It is absolutely a time for change at the club, but I’d love to see what Arsene Wenger can offer the club with a boardroom who are a little more in-tune with what the fans want to see. A figure similar to that of David Dein would definitely not go amiss either; someone to just nudge Wenger in the direction that his sometimes admired stubbornness refuses to venture. Most will want to believe that the manager has still got it, but everyone wants to be shown that it is not him who is holding the club back.

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