Arsenal head into tonight’s game against AC Milan with many questions surrounding the team, and one of the most prevalent is this: can Arsene Wenger survive as manager until the end of the season?
Even a few years back very few people would’ve been insisting upon the Frenchman’s dismissal to this degree, but now, things are on an entirely different level. The two-decade tenure of the 68-year-old at the Emirates is under severe threat, and unlike Sir Alex Ferguson, there isn’t much hope in regards to him going out on top.
They say that most legends go out on their back with a defeat, but at this stage, some would even hesitate to call Arsene Wenger a legend. Sure, he’s done some exceptional things as the boss of the Gunners, but at what point does that legacy start to evaporate?
If you asked 100 Arsenal fans whether or not they cared about the many trophies Wenger had brought to the club throughout his time there, we’re confident that at least 80 of them would say no right now. That doesn’t mean they genuinely feel that way, but their frustrations and anger are clouding their better judgement, and that makes sense.
In most sports, you have players and bosses who hang around for far too long and start to damage their credibility, but it’s much more rare in the world of football. These days managers tend to be awarded much less time in a job than they were in the past, but because Wenger has been around since 1996 there seems to be this ‘leniency’.
Salvaging the season
It’s not about weeding out the old and bringing in the new, it’s about doing things that will benefit the team in question – and nobody can deny that keeping Arsene Wenger on as manager until May is a huge, huge risk.
If he manages to guide the club to the Europa League final then he’ll likely go out with a portion of his reputation restored, but if things continue to crumble, then the answer to the title question in this article will be ‘no’.
Everyone can make their own assumptions regarding what the ‘right thing to do’ is, but sport is all about living in the future. The day after you win the Premier League or FA Cup you should be thinking about doing it all over again, and unfortunately for Arsenal, the past doesn’t define them.
Do you still care about Arsene Wenger’s legacy?