Life after Wenger by AndersS
Whether you are looking forward to it or not, it is a fact that Wenger’s reign will come to an end. It can be anything between a few days and a few years. But it will end in the foreseeable future.
A large number of fans, and possibly a growing number, are looking forward to it and can’t wait for it to happen. Quite a few of us actually can’t understand that his reign has been allowed to continue long after it has become apparent that not only are we standing still, we are moving backwards.
Nobody can deny Wenger has done a lot of great things as manager for Arsenal.
He has also been well rewarded financially and he may also have been allowed to stay on longer than he should have these last few years. At least it is my conviction that any other manager, who didn’t have Wenger’s history with the club, would have been sacked if he had produced the league and Champions League results we have seen over the last 5-6 years. They are simply not good enough for one of the biggest (and richest) clubs in Europe.
But Wenger has stayed on, and has got the record.
My point is, that even though we now have a manager who has a unique record in number of years and number of matches, we have entered a new phase, where the outlook for Wenger is similar to what other managers have to contend with; contracts with a relatively short time frame.
Alone because of Wenger’s age, it is not probable that he, from now on, will be a long-term solution. Whether it is the club’s ambition to try to find a manager who can be the manager for many years after Wenger, we don’t know. But even if it is, it is not very likely that a new manager will stay for long if he doesn’t produce results within the first 2-3 years of his reign.
So, in reality we have a situation where we can hope that, from now on, our manager will actually be held accountable for the results we achieve. If Wenger doesn’t produce any acceptable results this year either, why should he be allowed to stay? He is not the long-term solution, and he obviously wouldn’t be the short-term solution either.
Yes, I know it can be argued, that as long as the financial results are fine, then he will be allowed to stay. But I really don’t think that is the case. First of all, I am sure the income from tickets, merchandise and sponsors already may be under pressure due to:
* Lack of Champions League participation, which means less direct income but also less exposure for our sponsors. The value of the Arsenal brand is simply falling.
* Diminishing fan support, which means less tickets and less merchandise sold.
* Even if the owners’ main objective is to make money, this is a correlation between achieving results and income, which I very much doubt can be overlooked.
My guess is, the owners’ are very much aware, that it is no longer a question of whether Wenger should be replaced, but rather a question of when, and this is where it becomes really interesting.
Personally, I have long time ago lost all belief that Wenger can make us contenders for the PL title again, and nor can he get us success in the Champions League. I have also lost belief that he can get us back into the Champions League. But I admit, it can’t yet be ruled out, he can get us top 4 or even a Europa League win this year. I just don’t believe it will happen. So I of course think, the time to replace him is now, so a new manager can get the best chance of rebuilding for next year. And if it doesn’t happen soon, maybe because the owners still believe, we will get back into the Champions League, it may drag out a month or two, before we are so far behind top 4 and are out of the Europa League, Champions League qualification is as good as out of the equation.
Life after Wenger could soon be reality, but when? And will Arsenal be looking for a new manager who, like in almost any other big football clubs, will only keep his job as long as he produces results in the big competitions?