It is Groundhog Day again.
Sitting 10 points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea and on the cusp of the seventh successive round-of-16 exit in the Champions League, Arsenal’s season is already over although almost four months of competitive football has yet to be played.
The Arsenal supporters, even a considerable number of those who had pledged their loyalties to Arsene Wenger, have lately been advising him to step down in the summer.
Massimiliano Allegri, Thomas Tuchel, Roger Schmidt and Leonardo Jardim have even been put forward as potential successors, but the fans’ response to the Wednesday’s 5-1 chastening defeat in Germany largely seems a knee-jerk reaction that has been a decade in the making.
Changing the trajectory
A new manager is almost certain to change the trajectory of the club, but the timing of the managerial change ought to be impeccable, especially given the turmoil that surrounds the club today.
Wenger’s detractors argue that he birthed the problems they are now facing; nevertheless, he holds the solution.
The Arsenal head honchos have a daunting task in their hands: extending the contracts of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.
Despite Ozil’s patchy form, he warrants an extension as finding a trequartista of his calibre willing to sign for Arsenal is not easy.
Alexis’ prominence only rises with each passing game, with his being directly involved in 36 goals in 31 starts this season.
Cajoling them into signing on the dotted lines with the manager situation uncertain is unlikely. Pledging to keep the manager they chose to play under at the club will go a long way.
With the future of the club’s three most influential persons up in the air, every move ought to be as calculated as Wenger’s oratory in the pre-match press conference ahead of the Monday’s Emirates FA Cup clash.
Bringing in Wenger’s successor at a time when the club is in a dire shape hardly sounds plausible, and the longest serving Premier League manager ought to stay at Emirates Stadium for a couple more years to steady the ship before the eventual introduction of a new philosophy.
Not his rhetoric
Contrary to the rhetoric of his naysayers, milking Stan Kroenke has never been the top of his agenda. He can make £8 million outside Arsenal, ostensibly.
A manager of his pedigree will always remain in great demand; he made plain the same hours after the Munich encounter.
“No matter what happens, I will manage next season, whether it’s here or somewhere else,” said the 67-year-old.
However, he has always been loyal to the club, placing the club’s future and well-being above his own.
Questioned about his Arsenal future, he said: “My personal situation is not important, it’s Arsenal Football Club and the future of our team and what we can achieve until the end of the season that is important.”
He appears sensible enough to step down when he can no longer guarantee a title challenge.
The absolute worst that has happened during his tenure is Champions League qualification, thus the Gunners can do worse than extending his stay.
Arsenal successfully uprooted George Graham’s touch to transform into a global club.
They can definitely rid of the Wenger-bred penchant for failure to win back-to-back titles upon the arrival of a modern coach, but the summer is a precarious time to give him the boot.
Written by Praveen Paramasivam
Follow Praveen on Twitter @49Praveen
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