Having lifted three Premier League titles, six Football Association Cup trophies and six Community Shields, Arsene Wenger remains one of the most successful managers of the modern era.
Unlike most other gaffers of his era, he has accomplished plenty despite not being a spendthrift. Given his outstanding finance management, he can be mooted as an owner’s dream, but he continues to be a polarizing figure amongst the Arsenal faithful.
The first ever WengerOut banner was unfurled in 2011, and they have been seen every now and then since; the frequency at which they are seen at Emirates Stadium lately is alarming. The fact that a certain section of their fanbase felt the need for calling for his head not long after the Gunners had vanquished Hull City 4-0 highlights the hatred the demographic has for the club’s most decorated manager in history.
Whilst one segment of the fanbase lambasts him, the other — known as AKB — promptly refute their charges. The disagreements between the two camps have recently led to physical altercations between them, as evinced by the fights after FA Cup quarter-final game against Watford and the recent Etihad Stadium trip.
The pro-Arsene supporters belittle his disparagers, and it is a human tendency to obliterate the dearest things of those who try to suppress or hurt their feelings; needless to say, the French manager is the apple of the eyes of the AKB. The WOB, thus, proceeds to intensify their protests and the resulting chaos hurt the repute of the club and put more pressure on everyone associated with the club.
Is Wenger’s time over?
Part of Arsenal’s plunge is down to Stan Kroenke’s mismanagement. With the other clubs pumping in truckloads of money for reinforcements every summer, the American takes home £3 million every season and considers the club as a business project rather than a spiritual entity that dictates the emotions of people who call themselves Gooners. Such horrible ownership married with lenient approach hardly produces fruitful results.
Despite the plethora of flaks, the former Monaco manager continues to evolve, given his tactical tweaks against big clubs. Unlike the Arsenal of yesteryears, Arsenal now produce results against big clubs and are the only club to beat newly-crowned Premier League champions Leicester both home and away.
In addition, the London club are also seen being ruthless in the transfer window signing Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, and Petr Cech and are also lining up big money deals for Granit Xhaka and other targets. However, although he has met every requirement to make Arsenal title winners again, the club’s injury record has made it impossible for him to lift the English title after a dozen years.
Every good story should end, and the fortunate ones are those who enjoy a good ending. The Arsenal manager has earned a good, if not, a not-terrible end to his time at Arsenal. By the looks of things, even a very short-lived slump in the forthcoming seasons will call for vehement protests and more chaos, thereby depriving him of the sendoff he rightfully deserves.
Can Arsenal replace him?
Contrary to what pro-Arsene fans believe, the right replacements are available in the market. Roger Schmidt, Unai Emery, and the likes can carry on his legacy. Whilst a segment of the Arsenal fans will mourn over having missed out on Jurgen Klopp and Josep Guardiola, there is quality in the market that will undoubtedly do as good as, if not, better than those flashy names.
Unlike life after Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, Arsenal will likely cope with the departure of the manager who has been with them for two decades as he has laid the foundation for not just the near future with Aaron Ramsey, Gabriel Paulista, and Jack Wilshere but also for the long-term future as Hector Bellerin, Alex Iwobi, and Jeff Reine-Adelaide continue to impress and improve. Should he bring in two world-class additions come the summer, trophies will be served on the silver platter for his successor.
The English media are reporting that Le Professeur has been handed a three-year contract extension. Although the news appears as good as Mesut Ozil or Alexis Sanchez signing a contract extension with the club, it paves the way for pandemonium.
This club could not witness any more mayhem.
Written by Praveen Paramasivam
Follow Praveen on Twitter @49Praveen
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