The life of an Arsenal supporter is hard to judge and this has been summed up in the past few days. From the euphoria of Saturday to a dampened mood on social media Tuesday afternoon. For months Arsenal fans have argued amongst themselves in regard to the future of Arsene Wenger but as news circulated this afternoon that Wenger will sign a new deal, the mood of many fans had changed. For many this showed bad leadership, for others they welcomed the news.
The Wenger In camp were delighted when the news broke as they firmly believe he is the right man to take Arsenal forward. They believe Wenger can take Arsenal to Premier League success and can point to the recent record in the FA Cup to prove he can still be successful. Combine this with the change in formation and this camp can argue that Wenger can change and ‘reinvent’ himself. This reinvention has so far proved successful with only a defeat to Tottenham since changing formation which has allowed defensive stability but also, allowed Arsenal to be a greater offensive threat. Since changing the formation, underperforming players have stepped up a level which includes the scapegoat Ramsey but other countless examples such as Xhaka, Holding, Bellerin and Monreal.
For this side, letting Wenger go would only cause more trouble with no obvious replacement lined up. There is no plan in place and no manager who is better than Wenger is available
However, for the other side of the debate this news was not welcomed. This move showed a lack of ambition on behalf of majority shareholder Stan Kroenke but also, showed the power and control Wenger has at Arsenal. For many of this group they will point to the failure of qualifying for the Champions League proving that he is no longer capable in motivating his players but, the FA Cup final would suggest otherwise. Moreover, many will argue that this move will only weaken the chances of keeping Sanchez as surely he wants to win which will not happen under Wenger.
Although, the extension was expected many will argue that more younger and dynamic managers are available for example, Tuchel who left Dortmund this morning. The argument from the WOB is that Wenger is not getting any younger, has failed to sustain a title challenge or compete for the biggest honours whilst, at the same time Tottenham are getting stronger. Additionally, it can be argued that Wenger has not been ruthless enough with players who have continually let him down which has been evident in bad losses experienced this season.
Neither In or Out
I am continually asked the question which camp I sit in, and the answer is neither. I will not be defined by one group and only want the best for Arsenal. At the moment, there has been no recognition that Wenger may leave from the board which has meant there is no plan in place. Relieving Wenger of his duties could be a catastrophic for this club which would be a realistic possibility when considering a new manager would have to be appointed, new transfer targets drawn up and different planning in line with the new manager.
However, I am not blinkered to acknowledge that change is needed. Obviously, there is a need for more transparency which has been lacking but there also needs to be a better support structure for Wenger coupled with coaches to challenge him. As we move into this new deal, it is imperative former players are brought into coaching positions so that the team can hear different voices but also, new ideas can be brought forward.
Moreover, it is vitally important that the board plan for the future as Wenger is not getting any younger. The whole club will need restructuring which is a consequence of Wenger doing everything. Modern football clubs are not run by one person meaning it is important that a Sporting Director is appointed for example, Robert Pires which should enable a smoother transition when Wenger does depart or else it may take years for the void to be filled. This problem is one of the reasons why the extension is preferable. This will allow the board to make the necessary changes which Wenger needs to accept as this will be in the best interests of the club.
Whatever camp you sit it is important that the fans unite. The toxic atmosphere which has been created is not helpful for the team or the fans. It has caused fans not to enjoy the football but also, created an atmosphere which is difficult to play in. Instead the fans need to get behind the team and drive them on which in the long run will improve results. For the unity and support, the banners need locking away and the planes need grounding. This will hopefully bring the fans together, support the team and get behind Wenger because whatever your opinion Wenger has been Arsenal’s greatest manager.