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How likely that Wenger won't extend his contract?

How likely that Wenger won't extend his contract?

Mildly conflicting stories were posted on the club web site yesterday. Ivan Gazidis, Arsenal`s CEO claimed he was confident that Wenger would agree to extend the contract which expires at the end of next season while shortly after Wenger was reported declaring he was not sure if or when he would do so. What thoughts might he be having that would lead him not continue beyond next season?

Thus far he has had something of an inverted career at the club. The nearest we have had to him in accomplishments was Herbert Chapman who having joined the club in 1925 set about rebranding it. Among other innovations he adopted the now iconic red shirt and white sleeves and changed the name of the local tube station literally putting the club on the map. It was to take a few years for his investment to bear fruit and for Chapman to win a trophy but as history records it paid off gloriously. Wenger`s tenure has so far been something of a mirror image of Chapman`s and that of other successful managers such as United`s Ferguson. His innovative approach brought instant success which he was to sustain over his first 9 years culminating in the triumph of the unbeaten season of 2004. Though this was followed by success in the 2005 FA cup final he has now gone 5 seasons without a trophy.

But just as Chapman in the barren spell which preceded his success Wenger hasn`t been idle. Much has been achieved in those 5 years with the commissioning of a new stadium which his management was instrumental to successfully funding. In the process the moderately successful London club with a reputation for dour efficiency that he adopted has moved into a place firmly in among the top ten most valuable sporting franchises in the world according to Forbes magazine. The third most valuable 'soccer` franchise to use the magazine`s own language. He has transformed the image of the club to one playing an exhilarating brand of a football and along with the Arsenal board he has put the club into the highest echelons of sporting enterprise. He has also ensured continual CL qualification and competed in a CL final, semis and quarter finals with two respectably positive tilts at the PL title in that trophy drought.

Despite that the weight of expectation has at times manifested itself on the touchline this season as he has kicked drinks bottles at Old Trafford, thrown his jacket down in frustration at the Emirates, uncharacteristically though justifiably refused to shake Mark Hughes` hand at Eastlands and delivered an all too rare half time rant at Anfield. The urbane Frenchman has even found himself using the 'f` word more readily in post match press conferences than we have come to expect. The signs of frustration have been very apparent at times. If a similarly injury afflicted season were to confound him next season would anyone be greatly surprised if he decided not to subject himself to more of the same? He knows success is tantalisingly close at times but the line between triumph and failure is a very fine one indeed and can sometimes prove elusive for reasons outside his control. If he were to fail to win anything next season would he feel the inevitable discontent amongst some of the clubs followers would best be answered by passing the baton to someone else? On the other hand if he does win something what better time for him to call it a day and take anyone of a number of short term lucrative assignments in football or pursue some philanthropic interest? Some might expect him to take a job in the Arsenal boardroom but he may fear he`ll cast too long a shadow over the next manager to be entirely comfortable with that. Whether Wenger wins a trophy next season or not both outcomes offer reasons for him to call time.

The hope has to be that he will decide to extend but he may well see how next season is shaping up before he does so. If he does decide not to he can do so knowing that he has left the club in extraordinarily good shape with the knowledge that whoever takes over the club needn't possess the qualities to leave the legacies that he and Chapman have. That job has been done for now and his replacement will have the resources to do the job in a far more conventional manner because of Arsene`s investment in more than trophies.

Of course there would be life after Wenger if he decided to go. The club will celebrate its 125th anniversary next year and many heroes will be made in a promising future as they have been in a glorious past. Some people would have said we'd never replace Chapman but less than 60 years after he died we did.

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Date:Tuesday May 11 2010
Time: 9:39AM


I personally don't think that he will extend his contract, thus making next season his last. He has given us every last ounce of his genius, wisdom, intelligence and diplomacy and has nothing left. The strain of it has been showing on his face and in his actions this season. He is an immensely honourable man, and would only sign a new contract if he felt that he still had something new to offer the club, or was able to take us further. Sadly, I don't think he feels that he has. Add to that the uneven playing field created by the billions being invested in Chelsea and Citeh, and the next billionairre to appear on the horizon and rescue Liverpool. I wouldn't blame him for leaving. He has MORE than ticked evry box on his ' job spec ' since his arrival. I know that his one dream is to win the CL,
Cockney Rich
11/05/2010 11:19:00
**** ( contd ) and let's be brutally honest. Winning the CL is a dream that he will only realise at another Club.
Cockney Rich
11/05/2010 11:20:00
I think he will sign an extension for a further two years and therefore he will stay until 2013. I think that he may feel that this team needs a bit more time, a bit of tweaking here and there in terms of transfers and that eventually it will come goof. However if we still have not won anything by then, I can then see him leaving. The major connundrum is that if AW does decide he has had enough next season who replaces him? I dont even want to think about it really and I hope that AW feels that he does still have something to offer. Of course his departure could lead to an exodus of players as well. The Arsenal board should pray that he agrees to an extension. CR, if this is to be his last season, then I sincerely hope he makes a major push for the C/L and we win it. I cant imagine a better way for AW to sign off from Arsenal having finally led us to the one thing we crave the most.
11/05/2010 12:33:00
***good*** not goof!! apologies lol
11/05/2010 12:33:00
Totally agree on the CL push T-G-B , but unfortunately, that is alot easier said than done. I loved your idea that " eventually it will come goof ". Brilliant !
Cockney Rich
11/05/2010 12:36:00
Lol CR my keyboard failed me on that bit..haha. Your right about the C/L though, but lets not forget it is essentially a cup competition where anything can happen. I mean come on this season, I didnt hear many people predict an Inter v Bayern final at the outset. Just goes to show unpredictable it can be. With some decent signings (pref players who have played in the C/L) and a bit of luck, you never know.
11/05/2010 12:48:00
If he cannot sort out the obvious area's our squad is lacking and motivate these players then he should leave. He has blatently failed to do that the last two seasons, which is inexcusable.
11/05/2010 12:54:00
Im neutral to his staying or not. I would love for him to go out on a high though. He deserves that much at least for his dedication towards the club.
11/05/2010 14:23:00
AW's job has been a thankless one ever since we moved to the Grove. If he had invested well in the team, the risk of annual losses would have been severe - especially after the credit crunch. He built a largely youthful team and finished in the top 4 only to be judged by his own high standards and deemed a failure. When AW joined the club we had two PL titles in the two decades from 1976-1996 and less than 8 CL level finishes. From a historical perspective he has done very well but who thinks historically anymore.

Next season is pivotal - if the team lets him down again its better for both parties to seperate. For the club to move to a choice of a manager the fans will atleast initially get behind and support. And for AW to leave before some fans attempt to completely rewrite history and question what he ever did for us.
11/05/2010 14:29:00
I get the feeling that no matter what AW does now, he's damned in the present time. His legacy and the enormity of the job he has done will not become clear to most until well after he has gone. In fact, like Chapman, his legacy will last a long, long time after he has shuffled off this mortal coil. I was thinking yesterday about how lightweight we were in the CL initially, going out in the group stages. Now we're veterans of the latter stages, that really is an enormous jump. Put it this way, anyone wanna lay any bets that in ten years time Redknapp will be managing Spurs in a new stadium with their team as CL knockout round veterans? It would be an incredible job if he could. I still don't think there's any other man for the job.
Little Dutch
11/05/2010 15:04:00
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