The timing of the talk about Arsene Wenger getting a new Arsenal contract could hardly have been worse, on the back of a title ending defeat by Chelsea that looked so simple for the Blues that the Gunners have been compared to youngsters kicking a ball about with the big boys in the playground.
The loss also ended any slim hopes we Gooners were hanging on to about our Premier League title challenge this season/ And the timing of it has most of us experiencing the cold shiver of deja vu and expecting the end of our EPL hopes to be followed by an early exit from the Champions League.
The Chelsea loss was not all that unexpected to be honest, but coming after one of our worst performances in recent years that saw Watford take all three points off us at the Emirates, it has really raised the Arsenal fans’ anger levels once again.
Then we see an Evening Standard report in which our former player Martin Keown, who still has good links to the club and so is probably well informed on the matter, reveals that Wenger is likely to be offered and to accept a new deal as the club has no contingency plan in place and the Frenchman himself is the one who will decide when he goes.
He said, “They’re going to want to have a run-up to a succession plan at Arsenal Football Club and that will mean Arsene Wenger signing a new deal. I don’t know if that sits completely well with the fans.
“If you look at other situations, Manchester United losing Sir Alex Ferguson, I believe he’ll sign a new contract. It’s just really the announcement. When is the right time?
“Of course he needs to continue to do well enough to stay in the job. If he gets in the Champions League once more, wins a trophy… I know people are dissatisfied with that and feel change is necessary.
“But it could also go completely the other way if Arsenal were to leap now and make a big change. It sits with the way he is as a manager to see the job through to the end of the season and I do see him signing a new deal. That will be the last one and Arsenal will be looking to make a plan in that period.”
I get the impression that Keown does not exactly agree with the plan and is perhaps suggesting that his former boss should make his move earlier. That feeling comes across even more clearly in the words of two other former Gunners Ian Wright and Ray Parlour in an another Evening Standard report.
Parlour said, “You’re always going to have some fans who want a change and look, Arsenal football club is a huge club, and nobody is ever bigger than the club and Wenger’s been a fantastic manager but you’ve got to get the right man into place.
“If the right man’s out there, then yeah [go for them], but that’s the problem you have. The top managers are all taken and all have very good jobs at this minute.
“David Dein was always the man [with the knowledge] at Arsenal but he’s no longer there. He was the instigator getting Wenger into the club – and that’s a big question for upstairs – who’s the man to bring in a new manager? Because you have to look at the options out there.
“The defending wasn’t good enough [against Chelsea] and that’s them out of title race, and now they’ve got to worry about making the top four.”
Wrighty said, “Does he still have the stomach to do this again? It is a tough couple of months for Wenger, and Arsenal are doing what they do when they slip up.
“Arsenal are in the top four, but they aren’t winning the league.
“Wenger has some really serious thinking to do at the end of the season.”
Do you also get the impression that these club greats are urging their former boss to call it a day? Will he listen?