Arsenal chairman Ivan Gazidis has confirmed that the club are trying to prepare themselves for the departure of Arsene Wenger, but have no immediate plans to move on without him.
The French boss has been in charge of the club for 20 years now, helping the side to win three Premier League titles, as well as six FA Cup competition wins. His current contract is set to end at the end of next season, and the manager has confirmed that there is no extension available at present.
Wenger has come under fire in recent months, having seen his side stutter out of the Premier League title chase, despite all of their main rivals faltering this year. Leicester ended up as shock winners of the English top division, while Arsenal rallied to snatch second-place from neighbours Tottenham.
Many fans have called for the former Monaco chief to step down this summer, although some of those shouts have been calmed by their leapfrogging of rivals Spurs on the final gameweek of the term.
Despite the criticism of the coach, Gazidis has confirmed that the Arsenal backroom believe in Wenger, and they all see him as the best option to lead the club going forward. His age is the only cause for concern, and that will mean that he will have to one day step-down, but their working relationship will allow both parties to give each other plenty of notice when the time comes.
‘He’s in his mid-sixties, it’s natural to think about when his time here might come to an end, but the truth is nobody knows’ Gazidis said.
‘He is in fantastic shape. He is deeply engaged and excited. One of the biggest challenges we will face is the transition, whenever it happens, but that is not something we are going to be facing imminently.
‘Obviously, he is going to be managing us next year and we are planning and making many decisions for the long term.
‘The reality is we wouldn’t leave things until the last minute. I’m comfortable both that if Arsène is going to extend we will know that and if, whenever that is, he is going to come to an end, that he will give us the time that we need to prepare for that transition.
‘The relationship with Arsène is very deep. It will be done behind closed doors and we will have our transition plans well worked out.’
To me, this means that Wenger will be offered a new deal during the new season, but time will tell…
Who do you think is in mind to replace Wenger?