For the Arsenal fans who are still firmly behind Arsene Wenger and believe that the long serving Frenchman is still the best man to be the manager of Arsenal Football Club, this will come as good news. And the way the planned protests at the end of last season turned out to be a damp squib proves that there are plenty of AKBs out there.
But we also know that there are plenty of Gooners on the other side of the fence and the WOB faction certainly seem to be the most vocal and noticeable, especially on social media. So I expect to see a lot of debate going on about the long term future of the club and our chances of winning any major trophy in the near future after the top Arsenal executive Ivan Gazidis dropped a bombshell about Wenger this week, as reported by Sky Sports.
We already knew that the prof was going to be allowed to see out the final year of his current contract without too much, if any, pressure from the Arsenal board. But Gazidis dropped a huge hint that the club was already planning on extending his stay past the end of next season.
He said, “He [Wenger] is 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.
“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 Arsene 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 Arsene is very deep. It will be done behind closed doors and we will have our transition plans well worked out.
“He has always put the long-term health of the club first. He wants to hand over a football club, whenever that it is, that is in great shape. He views that as a massively important part of his legacy.
“But we are just not in that mode. I know Arsene wouldn’t stay on if he thought the club wasn’t heading in a good direction and thought he wouldn’t be able to deliver what the fans want.”
I am not quite as sure as Gazidis about that, even though I am not one of the fans desperate for the boss to be replaced. However I do have to ask whether the undoubted stability that Wenger has brought is not being sacrificed for some real cut and thrust and the freshness that you see new managers bring to their new clubs. What do you guys think?