It’s Time To Hang Up The Trench Coat, Arsène

He’s not an engineer, but he designed and built the club. He’s not an agent or a scout, but he signed every player, not the club.

Over 20 years ago Arsène Wenger assumed the role as manager for Arsenal, despite the great Johan Cruyff also being considered by the London club. While Wenger was appointed as manager, his role in the club would expand with his successes, leading to increased responsibility and accountability.

This was both a blessing and a curse; while the Frenchman would be able to control just about every facet of his club, he would thus be the face fans and the media would relentlessly home upon for every failure. Sure, the praise was all directed towards Wenger, but there would be no way he could avoid the inevitable frustration from anyone with a stake in the club.

Arsène is the reason Arsenal are perennially finishing in the top four, but he’s the reason why they haven’t won the league since 03/04.

The process worked over a decade ago, but it’s since lost its spirit and everyone knows it; Arsène must know that his stay at Arsenal has been too long, that his style has become stale in the years since the unforgettable season without a single loss in the league.

When you do that, you establish a bar to reach, and you’re compared to that season every year, which is completely ridiculous; Leicester’s title run last year shouldn’t become the standard LCFC faithful point to, and it won’t be, but for Arsenal, things are different. There is a tradition of success, but Wenger can’t seem to shake that, and it has lead to his extended reach throughout the club, distracting him from the real task at hand.

Arsène shouldn’t have to worry about weekly wages or transfer fees or how much product Giroud uses in his hair, but due to his silver-toned tenure, Kroenke and Gazidis have let Wenger control any aspect of the club he wants, and over the years he has added too many irons in the fire.

We all know it – Arsène is finished after this campaign. Even if he stays (which isn’t altogether likely) he would be done, and the club wouldn’t progress if he were to stay another five years.

Arsenal are Arsèned-out, and are in need of a change like a day old diaper. This reign has gone on far too long, and his influence has penetrated too far, making failure for the club inevitable at every level. When things were going right, Arsenal were a world-beating club, but the Gunners have softened and slow down in a tough, blisteringly-paced game.

His time with Arsenal hasn’t seen the nightmares that have befallen some clubs, but Wenger should have been dismissed in 2011 after the defeat to Birmingham City in the League Cup. Since then, Arsenal have signed huge names, and that’s essentially it.

He’s also not signed plenty of players on the transfer market, presumably because they didn’t possess a certain spinelessness.

With his fingerprints all over the club, maybe he was hesitant about some signings because it would be his head if they turned out to be flops. You would also have monuments built in your image if they weren’t.

Too much uncertainty from Wenger, I guess.

Now, there’s only one thing Arsenal can be certain of – a new era is about to unfold.


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