After Arsenal’s hugely embarrassing 5-1 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, a result that has almost certainly sealed our European fate for yet another consecutive season, odds were slashed to suggest that Arsene Wenger would be leaving the club at the end of the season.
It’s a well known fact that a contract offer has been made to Wenger by the board of directors at Arsenal, but that the Frenchman has remained loyal to his policy that states he will not consider the offer until the end of the season. At that point Wenger will asses the season the team has had, the season he has had personally as a manager and whether or not he feels it is right to carry on managing at Arsenal. He’s been put to blame by the fans, but the board is still backing him and as it has been suggested by many reports before, it seems that they are quite happy to let Wenger himself decide when enough is enough.
This is not the mentality of a football club that is ambitious I’m afraid. Nobody desires Arsenal to become ruthless with their managerial selections, much like Chelsea or Real Madrid have been in the past. Nobody desires a football club that sees a manager sacked after a bad run of games, but to let a manager who is clearly in decline, remain at the club for as long as he wants, is simply not the right mentality to have for a club of supposed ambition.
Wenger remains coy on exactly what he plans to do next season, but he has made it abundantly clear that he is not looking to retire from professional management just yet. Wenger said:
“No matter what happens, I will manage next season, whether it’s here or somewhere else I am not sure”
I don’t think he knows exactly what is to come of his managerial career at this current stage, because although the board may have laid down the offer, I think he’s a strong enough character to recognise when he’s no longer wanted by the majority – Ie. The fans. Even after such a poor Champions League fixture, a competition in which will prove we have hit the next stage of our ambition, I think he’s still at a point in which he believes his future remains at Arsenal; even if it’s only for one or two more years.
In regards to whether the Frenchman would manage somewhere else; after 20 years at Arsenal, you really cannot imagine Wenger elsewhere and I would personally be shocked if he was to take a job after Arsenal. I always thought he’d retire after Arsenal, but if he is perhaps being asked to go earlier than he planned, then perhaps there’s one last team he’d like to have a crack at before he calls it a day on football management.