Wenger to go?

So Arsene Wenger said some stuff about his future.

“I am resolute to commit absolutely until the last day of my contract to bring back big success to this club, and leave as well one day in a position where it can do even better when I leave.
“That is for me very important that I leave the club in the shape that the guy who comes after me can do better.
“The responsibility on my shoulders is much bigger. I know what it means for people. I know how sad people are when we don’t do well, I know how sad people are when we lose a game.”

Some papers, who want to be seen to have the inside track have said this means he’s leaving in 19months.

I mean, he’s said above that he wants to leave on a high. What’s a high? Another FA Cup? Because that could mean Wenger leaves this year. Or, if a high is, say, a Champions League, I might be passing down my #WengerOut campaign to my children’s children.

Wenger is old now. I mean, 65 is a big number. So change is coming. It could be spectacular.

No, it will be spectacular, either way.

It could go terribly wrong or it could go unbelievably well. Who knows. But, it’s exciting to know that there’s an ending in sight.

He has to be careful with the hints. The papers can sniff the end now. They’ll all want to be the outlet that breaks the story. So expect lots of potentially unsettling stories. Worth noting that it doesn’t take much for players to switch off. Ferguson learned this before unretiring a few years ago.

Question is, does Wenger go all out Fergie style in a bid to do something magical. Or does he leave the way he’s progressed lately and hand over a mega budget to the new man?

That sort of time period gives us plenty of breathing space to sound out a new manager. If I were Ivan, I’d want a date. You don’t want a situation like United where the manager leaves last minute and you end up with a Moyes in the hotseat. Pep is rumoured to be going City next summer. So we won’t land him. So how will the managerial landscape look?

I’d imagine Steve Bould is under consideration. Continuity with someone who understands the set up and it’s weaknesses. Ambitious. Eager to prove something. A man who is driven, tough and resilient.

Outside that, it’s tough to make a call. We have this weird idea that in football, if you’re not in the ascension, you’re a terrible manager. Circumstance is rarely considered. In normal business, you can fail and still be held in high regard. Not in football. Unless you’re always winning, you don’t get a chance. You also don’t seem to get credit for doing things with small clubs. Eddie Howe is doing incredible things with Bournemouth for the second time. I mean, incredible. But would he ever be considered? Of course not.

It’s also worth mentioning that Jurgen Klopp got the job at Dortmund off the back of getting Mainz relegated (I think he was fired as well).

So who would be under consideration in 19 months time? Can Tomas Tuchel ressurect Dortmund and make good on his potential? How about Dieter Hecking of Wolfsburg? For me, an absolute dream manager for presence and passion would be Diego Simeone. In a league with Mourinho, Klopp and possibly Guardiola, you need a big character post Wenger. Unai Emery of Sevilla? Frank De Boer of Ajax? Curve ball of Gallardo at River Plate, he plays attacking football and he’s won 5 odd trophies between 2 clubs, not bad for a 39 year old!

It’s weird though. There’s a sadness to all this. The last time we changed manager I was about 12 years old. We were a dry old club, famed for being boring and a bit corrupt. Wenger came in, changed up the whole Premier League. He is part responsible for making it the product it is today. He’s responsible for a helluva lot of amazing things.

He’s been a continued presence. He’s part of the furniture. Both a strength and a weakness. So him moving on, even for a change pusher like me, is quite sad and a bit daunting.

Arsenal dropping out of the comfort zone is scary. But you know what, you never grow in the comfort zone. You just get fat. Bloated. Boring. Sometimes the most frightening thing in the world is the best thing in the world.

Arsenal are a powerhouse now. With the right moves, we could be a powerhouse with modern history. We could decorate a few more of the trophy signs around the stadium. We could have some serious good times moving forward.

Or, it could go horribly wrong. Either way, it’s a new adventure.


Originally published at le-grove.co.uk on October 16, 2015.

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