There are a growing number of Arsenal fans that cannot wait for Arsene Wenger to leave and think he has gone well past his sell-by date, but for those Gunners insiders who know him well and have done for years and years, think that the Frenchman still has the desire to win trophies with Arsenal and will be trying twice as hard next season.
One of those is the Gunners legend Martin Keown, who has been talking in the Daily Mail about whether Arsenal have already lined up a replacement for Wenger leaves or not.
Martin is absolutely certain that that the club haven’t even considered the question, and they won’t until Le Prof tells them to! “Arsene Wenger decides when he leaves Arsenal.” Keown said. “The topic of Wenger comes up all the time and I think we should allow the great man to decide when he goes. He’s got one year left on his contract. You can be certain that he’ll be all out to make sure that in his last year he’s going to be successful – and I wouldn’t bet against him signing a new deal. If Wenger does sign a new contract, then succession planning has to begin. Steve Bould is either nurtured into the role, or they identify who would be the next person to take over.
“What I think Arsenal will do is only look for a replacement when Wenger wants to go. They won’t tap him on the shoulder and say ‘We’re bringing in Simeone’. Wenger is 66 and doesn’t seem like an old 66. Most players don’t get much beyond the age of 30 but there isn’t a set age for a manager to be past their best. Just look at what you’re seeing. I don’t see any less desire in Wenger – if anything I see more desire than when he first arrived when you see him on the touchline.”
When asked if the Gunners may take on Diego Simeone when Wenger goes, Keown admitted that he was impressed with the Atletico boss. “Simeone is quite an animated figure and has done an incredible job at Atletico Madrid – it takes something special to be crowned champions in a league with Barcelona and Real Madrid. If Wenger steps aside I’m sure he’s someone they would look at, but the directors have a unique situation of a manager who will decide when he goes – and we must not forget that.”
So there we have another warning to Arsenal fans that want Wenger to go. Don’t get your hopes up. Wenger, Wenger, he leaves when he wants!