There are worrying signs at Arsenal, for me anyway, with the things that our long serving manager Arsene Wenger has been saying with regards to his future at the club. I could be wrong, of course, and the Frenchman has not been openly declaring that he will accept the offer of a new contract, but that is the impression I am getting more and more.
First we had the talk of him not being ready to give up the game and a sort of veiled threat that he would go to another club if we don’t want him. He has been talking about the age that Sir Alex Ferguson was when he decided to hang up the hairdryer and using that to suggest that four more years are well within him.
He may be right but I do not think they should be at Arsenal, as things have become too stale and we see the same old problems holding us back year after year. The fact that Wenger has still not made his decision, or told anyone about it at least, is a bit worrying and I feel he is waiting and hoping for the fans’ anger to die down.
Then we have his latest comments reported by the Arsenal website, and you can make your own mind up but my opinion is that he is trying to remind us how hard he works and suggest that no one else would care for the club like he does.
The boss said, “I am a specialist in masochism!
“It’s very demanding and it’s a sacrifice of your life. You have nothing else happening in your life. Basically you get 90 per cent aggravation and 10 per cent top satisfaction and you have to give everything in your life for that. You have to be ready for it.
“That’s what I always say to all the young people who want to go into this job. ‘Are you ready to sacrifice your life?’ It’s like a priest. You’re a football priest.”
“I believe [my career has] allowed me to get to the next level as a human being, to develop my strengths in what makes a human being great as well.
“To get the best out of people, that is absolutely fantastic. And of course you have disappointments, with people, with results. But it is as well a fantastic opportunity in life to go for what is really great in human beings, to get yourself to the next level, to improve, to invent yourself, to push your limits further up and not to have an average life.
“And on that front it is very interesting, it is very demanding, but as well very interesting if you really face the challenge. By accepting as well, facing the reality, in an objective way, about what you have to do to get better.”
I really do not want to run down the man’s achievements or what he has done for Arsenal. The first decade was brilliant and for most of the second decade his ability to keep us in the Champions League on a relative shoestring budget was remarkable, but he has failed to push on since then and I think we need a new manager to take us forward.
Unfortunately I think he is planning to stay, don’t you?