So D-Day has arrived. Wexit or Wexin? It was a busy day for Arsène, meeting first with Ivan and then Enos for discussions about how they would back down while he signed a new deal.
Despite admitting the uncertainty over his future significantly contributed to the “hostile environment”, my suspicion is that Arsène banked on winning the cup to re-assert his authority over the club. Ornstein of the BBC from Salford, claimed that even Dick Law was going to stay this summer.
Yes, Ivan, Arsène genuinely is a catalyst for change; a change of CEO, that is.
The general view is that leaving now would drop the club in the cart; there are no suitable candidates is the message which shows either how low Thomas Tuchel’s stock has fallen or how little attention people paid to his Dortmund departure.
But with Enos determined to keep Arsène, there’s no sense of any impending change. Kroenke’s biggest task is to soothe the two egos at loggerheads; it’s got a certain Highlander feel about it with the loser leaving unless a watered-down version of the vaunted restructuring can be found.
It’s hard to know Kroenke’s thoughts; he didn’t let the mask slip at Wembley, even though it certainly looked as if his face had.
Post-Chelsea, understandably, Arsène used the silverware to his advantage; why not, anyone who wouldn’t is a fool. Dangerous words though. “The best presentation? Watch the game and there can be no doubt”, he said.
To which the obvious answer is, “Shall we follow that with both Bayern games, Watford at home, finishing off with Chelsea and Liverpool away?”. The soundbite, while effective, is not so clear-cut as the Frenchman might want it to seem.
A forlorn rallying cry issued yesterday fell flatter on its’ face than Teresa May on television last night. You know it went badly when The Heil puts a zookeeper’s death as the lead story.
Anyway, some suggested that knowing Wenger will walk away in two years time ought to make everyone get behind the team and put the past behind them. It’s a startling lack of understanding regarding the situation.
The biggest is the presumption that Arsène will walk away. Managing Arsenal, he freely admits, is his life; there are no outside hobbies or interests to distract him. This is a man who will be involved in football for the rest of his life in some capacity.
Certainly, it’s hard to see him quitting coaching in the next decade. After that, it’s a boardroom, pronouncing judgement in exactly the same way he rails against anyone doing on his career.
And opinions on Arsenal’s league performance in the past half-a-decade are too hardened. There’s absolutely no evidence that he is capable of fashioning a title challenge. Just when you think he might be on course to do so, his squads fall apart, returning with a late season charge. This year, it came completely unstuck.
If he’s going to remain at the helm, then the board must unequivocally support him. Wenger’s evasiveness over his future was a significant factor in the car-crash of a Premier League season we’ve endured but the board’s failure to make any significant contribution was abysmal.
Paralysed by fear of change and Kroenke’s unwavering support of Wenger, their inability to assert control over the business underlined their overall unsuitability for the role. Major changes are required to inject dynamism into the club.
He Went That-a-way!
One thing is certain; Wenger will add more than 1 or 2 to the squad. Make do and mend isn’t a philosophy which wins titles.
Some are certain to leave while Jack Wilshere fuelled transfer talk by removing all reference to Arsenal on his social media sites:
His performances at Bournemouth weren’t as impressive as many expected them to be, leading to the spurious notion of “if he can’t cut it there, how can he cut it at Arsenal” surfacing.
I suspect a deal has been done already. Anything above £15m for Wilshere seems ludicrously low for a player of his talent but recent years lead me to think that anything above that represents bloody good business by the club.
Anyway, that’s it for today. Wenger’s future will be known soon, so we wait for the official announcement and the summer to begin.