It’s got to the point in the season where Arsenal traditionally collapse. After some hope at the start of the year, everything comes crashing down with a series of horrific results. Last season it was Swansea, Watford and Manchester United, this year it was Watford, Chelsea and Bayern Munich. Déjà vu. The biggest and most confusing enigma in English football right now (Apart from Liverpool’s even more spectacular implosion) is Arsène Wenger’s future at Arsenal.
Things were looking positive at the start of the year, they really were. Big money, youthful signings who actually seemed to have a backbone. An exquisite blend of experienced players in the prime of their careers, alongside breakthrough youngsters such as Alex Iwobi and Hector Bellerín. But yet again, the story hasn’t gone to plan. What needs to be done? Is this summer too soon for such a huge transition? I’m currently 20 years old, which means that Arsène Wenger has been the manager of Arsenal literally my entire life. I don’t know any different, and therefore I don’t know how difficult this transition will be.
What I do know however, is that this is something that needs to be done this summer – without a doubt. In hindsight, it would have been even more ideal for this transition to take place a few years ago in 2014, after Arsène won his 5th FA Cup, and Arsenal’s 11th at the time. The world class players that Arsenal have aren’t being rewarded adequately in terms of silverware. Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Laurent Koscielny need to be fighting for the top honours while they are in the prime of their careers – not after.
Hypothetically, if Arsène extends his contract at Arsenal for another 2 years this summer, Alexis Sanchez would be 30, Ozil 30, and Koscielny would be nearing 34. I’m not saying they can’t be replaced, as they will eventually have to be, but I would love to see them win something huge at Arsenal, and I just don’t see it happening under Arsène.
The frailties were evident in both legs against Bayern Munich. No other so called “top team” collapses quite like Arsenal do. We’ve seen so many similar results in the last few years, that it’s just not a coincidence. Starting off with the 8-2 at Old Trafford, 5-1 at Anfield, 6-0 at Stanford Bridge, 6-3 at the Etihad, and numerous thrashings in Europe against Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Milan and Monaco. Arsenal just aren’t a team for the big occasions anymore, and if the fans want the club to start competing for these major honours, major changes have to be considered, starting with the manager.
Looking at it from the board’s point of view, they will never sack Arsène. Not in a million years. The feeling within the club at the moment is that there is no adequate replacement for Wenger anyway, so he should stay on for another 2 years whilst a replacement is scouted. The decision will be down to Arsène, and whether or not he thinks that this summer is too soon for a transition. If reports are anything to go by, important players such as Ozil, Alexis, Chamberlain and Perez all might leave in the summer, which would mean that an entire squad over-haul would be required, and I wouldn’t want Arsène to be the man to do this. It would be ideal for a new manager to come in, make his mark on the club, and have the whole summer to prepare for next season.
Ultimately, one of the biggest concerns with the club at the minute is the uncertainty surrounding everything, specifically the manager’s future, along with several senior players. This is the reason why I think Arsène will sign a contract extension. Things have been left until the last minute, and I genuinely think the board do not have a replacement lined up.