Wenger only stayed last summer to help Arsenal out of the lurch?

According to the BBC journalist David Ornstein, who has long been known to have close links with many of the staff and managers at Arsenal, Arsene Wenger was actually keen to stand down last summer and leave on a high after winning the FA Cup Final against Chelsea, but with the Board not having any sort of plan for a replacement he only signed a new contract to give them time to prepare their ‘catalyst for change’ as Gazidis famously said.

Ornstein reported today: I was told recently that Wenger was as stubborn, determined and energetic as ever and if he was to leave he would need to be dragged out kicking and screaming.

However, it is my understanding Wenger was actually closer to walking away towards the end of last season than we knew at the time. Confidants had urged him to leave on a high after the FA Cup win against Chelsea in May.

At that time, Arsenal did not have a firm plan in place to succeed him. They were not particularly well set up to start a recruitment process. Wenger knew as much and a part of him sensed – rightly or wrongly – that going then could have left them in the lurch, that he had something of an obligation to carry on and have one last crack a leading this team to success.

But things have deteriorated – on the pitch, in the stands and at a political level. Ask people what has changed and the response is “that is precisely the problem – nothing has changed to improve the situation from him”.

Those around Wenger could not see a way back after the limp defeat at Brighton in March that followed two defeats by Manchester City. As welcome as the victory that followed over AC Milan at the San Siro was, there was a growing acceptance that this would be his final campaign in charge.

Witnessing how far his team had fallen adrift of Premier League champions City opened Wenger’s eyes to the stark reality of where Arsenal stood and the near-impossible challenge he would face in the final year of his contract. He knew his time was up.

He has always been the great survivor at Arsenal, he has taken all the bullets and carried on, shielding the board, players and club. But it is only human that he started to feel the criticism piercing him.

We all know that since last summer Gazidis has been bringing in some of the top names in the footballing world, and he thinks the club is now in a position to take Arsenal forward in Wenger’s absence, which they were probably not ready to do last summer. As Gazidis said yesterday: “Actually we have a tremendous amount of experience in the football club. I’ve been involved in professional football for 25 years, overseeing the football side of Major League Soccer, with multiple coaching changes there. Raul Sanllehi has been through five or six different Barcelona coaching changes and presidential changes. Sven Mislintat has been through a number at Borussia Dortmund, and then on the board we have board members who are old enough and experienced enough to have been through Arsenal changes. And then of course Stan Kroenke and Josh Kroenke themselves have been through many, many coaching changes in different sports. All of that experience exists, I doubt there is a more experienced group in handling changes of coaches.”

So it seems that the protests and lack of success had already persuaded Le Prof that he couldn’t take the club forward any more, but out of the goodness of his heart he stayed on to take even more criticism for another year while the Board put the system in place to replace his know how.

Just another reason to give the great man the respect he deserves.

Sam P


  1. st sass says:

    he deserves it, pray he crowns it with the Europa trophy. stats show he has never won an European trophy. well let’s hope he breaks that jinx.

  2. Phil says:

    I don’t believe a word of this.Wenger never would have left on his own accord.Lets face it what other Club would allow him the total control he demanded?He stalled on his decision over the course of last season on whether or not he would sign another contract. In other words it was his decision and both the Owner and Board simply caved into his demands.Ivan Gazidis was the one who wanted Wenger out and he has finally won that power struggle.Its reported that Gazidis continued to wield his authority and was influential in bringing in Sven and Raul.This was the beginning of the end for Wenger.We all saw the season we were going to have and were proved right.Now he’s gone we can at least get enthusiastic about the future without Wenger because it certainly won’t be worse than theses last few seasons.

    1. Manoj says:

      He doesn’t need another job, so why should he look for another club which will give him the same power.
      Anyway you all will realise the challenges of maintaining a top 4 position every year for more than 5 years. Have spent the last 40 years supporting Arsenal and have seen them being managed by other managers and while the club and it’s philosophy has not changed, the stark reality is that the type of fans changed. Perhaps the Arsenal philosophy has to change too if they want to keep the younger “Football Manager” type of fans happy. I dread that day. These kind of thoughts by Phil, for example, are the ones that’s going to drive Arsenal to being just another club, and no more”The Aresnal”. Not even sure if they know what this means.

  3. ThirdManJW says:

    Wenger did not want to leave Arsenal. How do we know? Well how many times down the years, and very recently as well, has Wenger talked about NEVER breaking his contracts. He has always said this with such pride, and even with a slightly aggressive, and dismissive tone of late, when his future has been questioned. He was even arrogant enough recently to state that he’s above criticism, and to say one of the most delusional things I’ve ever heard “how do we even measure success?”. The guy clearly feels that his performances are acceptable, so why would he leave then? He is leaving by his own accord, otherwise he was getting sacked in the summer. He doesn’t want that on his CV, the indignity of it, and for ONCE, he’s made a GOOD decision by leaving, and announcing it now. In doing so, it should galvanise the players, and unite the fans. I do not like Wenger anymore, but we can all now give him a good send off, and I would love to see him win the Europa League, which would be a great way of bowing out.

  4. Tas says:

    it seams that no one realy cares about what fans think these days it’s all secretive, if we had known AW wanted to leave last year YES we wanted him to leave but if we had knowing we could of been more respectful towards him lately, and would it of made a massive diferance to know he was staying so that the useless board wasn’t ready with looking for a new manager, most clubs have interim managers why didn’t we,

    if you ask me both the club and AW is at fault because we had the chance of signing Pep Guardiola before he joined City, he would of been ideal manager for us becouse of the style of footbal we play which his familiar with and players would of flocked to come to us to play under him

    1. tat says:

      come on.. pep Guardiola would never agreed to join arsenal unless the board also agreed to give him 500 millions to rebuild the team.

      1. Tas says:

        Im just telling you what was said

        1. Tas says:

          It’s in the Express Piers Morgan broke the story

    2. Sony says:

      I would love Pep, but that is more fan fiction than reality. Arsenal would never agree to spend so much money as Pep demanded. If he did not join City it would be MU another club with massive spending potential. Arsenal are also spenders. However they still have this limits…..

  5. kklin says:

    Common man, Ornstein says AW was ready to leave last season then so be it. The guy has got some inside info on the situation at Arsenal that has culmulated into what we see now so don’t let your disdain for the old coach make you disbelieve any credibility on his part. I’ve wanted Wenger out for quite a while but I still have lots of respect for the man. #MAGA

  6. kklin says:

    * culminated

  7. Durand says:

    Thought I read an article a while back about discussions with Allegri last Summer, but Stan decided to offer Wenger 2 year contract.

  8. Me says:

    Things had to move on – no question about that.
    But now things are moving on you understand exactly what he done – not just the trophies but the whole philosophy of the club.
    Arsenal and its fans should be extremely grateful.
    And to all those still whining please just shut up.
    Arsenal are moving on and now its time to pay homage to someone who only had Arsenal in his heart.
    Wenger is a legend for the club….

  9. David Rusa says:

    William Shakespeare remarked that “It is in vain to talk to him that means not to understand”. Some people are so bent on hating Wenger that they will never see any good in him. To such people Wenger is a despot and megalomaniac who would not readily relinquish his job of Arsenal manager. Of course this is all silly. Wenger knew what was good for the club and that’s what he has done. .

  10. Sony says:

    I think we will see in his book. How it was to manage Arsenal. WHat he had gone trough like Sir Alex. I wish it would come as soon as possible.

  11. A1 says:

    Wenger pls don’t go. hospitals will be short of hyper patients..

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