Arsenal - How likely that Wenger won't extend his contract?
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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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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday May 11 2010

Time: 9:39AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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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
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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
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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.
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11/05/2010 12:33:00

***good*** not goof!! apologies lol
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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11/05/2010 15:04:00

I think Wenger's legacy is set in stone for anyone with half a brain that follow's Arsenal as a fan. The fact is, his out right stubbourness/ignorance to not fix what clearly, even to the least educated observer, needs fixing is infuriating. We all know what needed doing last summer, it wasn't, we all know what needs doing this summer (not the technicalities, that's his specialty) but the GK/CB/CM department should of been sorted 2 summers ago. Last chance saloon. Arsenal will always remain, Wenger won't always be our manager, it is down to his actions to decide that time and place.
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11/05/2010 16:45:00

I can't see anyone who could do the job better than Wenger. True, maybe he needs to adjust certain things in his approach, but realistically are there other viable candidates for this huge job? He signed up for the building of the stadium and carried the club by signing affordable players (more often than not) and by making money in the transfer market over the past few years. Would he, a highly loyal and responsible man, walk off just like that when all that sacrifice is starting to bear fruit? We're now debt-free on the property front, only comfortably paying off the mortgage of the stadium, our cash cow that keeps pouring money back into the club and the team budget. If he's still got the passion and the fight, I don't see why he'd choose not to enjoy the harvest in the coming few years.
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11/05/2010 16:53:00

On another note, I thought it's a mistake either from or from Ivan Gazidis to say a deal with Wenger 'will happen' in the headline, only for the boss to come out and say he's still considering. Gazidis is very clever with interviews and almost always presses the right buttons in these situations. I was surprised that he said it would happen if he wasn't 100% sure about it.
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11/05/2010 17:00:00

Moanin' ole shizer ought to do the trophyless two step shuffle back to froggy land and crunch a few snails! Nah, seriously, great manager, club builder extraordinare. WTF were those A- holes giving him grief for at your last game?!! Idiots wouldn't have even been sat in their seats if it wasn't for Wenger! Daft punks.
Tony Rocky Horror
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11/05/2010 17:08:00

Completely agree Lou. It seems that Gazidis has jumped the gun with his latest interview. Almost as if he has taken it for granted that the extension will happen.
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11/05/2010 17:32:00

I'm all over the map on this, which says a lot for a longtime vehement AW-supporter. I agree completely with what LD said about his legacy and how its magnitude will only be understood years from now - and with what delta said about how thankless a task he's had. I get infuriated by the haters who've completely turned against him and are now trying to rewrite history, refusing to credit him for anything, inventing lies about how he was just "lucky" to win those trophies with us. Mostly I want him to stay, to win the CL with us, to fulfill his ambitions for this team. But at times this season I've allowed myself to think that sometimes for the good of both parties, it's just time to move on. That was the case with Ancelotti at Milan, he'd gotten very stale there and his move to England has revived his career. Altho Milan's choice of successor hasn't helped their fortunes much. Sometimes I wonder if AW's own managerial career would benefit from changing his job. Sometimes you can just stay at one place too long. But then I think about who will succeed him and I can't give a credible answer. So I'm ok with him staying, but I could accept him leaving. The one thing that I will be pretty upset about, and it will put me solidly on the side of those saying it's time he moves on, is if he fails to resolve our keeper situation.
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11/05/2010 17:50:00

Just for the record Delta, '98 was our first PL title.
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11/05/2010 18:02:00

Good points jaelle.
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11/05/2010 19:36:00

Agreed Jaelle, its damn right asinine to suggest that the trophies won were down to luck and I refuse to accept that something as special as going a whole season unbeaten was down to luck. These same haters will later be crying when AW has left us and then will realise just how good we had it when AW was in charge. I think much will be made of the legacy he will be leaving at the club when he steps down but it will become even more apparent over time and forever etched in our history. Another major problem is, who replaces him? Any other manager is going to be a let down unless it is someone really special.
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11/05/2010 19:39:00

go now wenger
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11/05/2010 20:07:00

We just won back to back Academy League titles. Beat Nottingham Forest 5-3 with a hatrick from Afobe.
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11/05/2010 20:41:00

Lou - I think Ivan Gazidis 'it will happen' was just a reference to the conversation about AWs contract extention, not that he will sign the extention. I may be wrong, hope I am.
No 10
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11/05/2010 20:46:00

Take it back Lou: apparently he ment it as it sounded
No 10
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11/05/2010 20:49:00

Watching the Gazidis Q&A session, is more enlightening. His hands are tight. He knows a Ribery is better than a Nasri, but we cannot afford his wages. The invasion of Abrahamovic then and Sheikh Mansoor now changed a whole lot. Man Utd and Liverpool on the other hand are buying and paying (wages) on debt which we cannot afford to do. Its the more money spent, the better your chance of winning (with a better manager). With our lay out, i think we are getting the result we deserve.
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11/05/2010 21:13:00

He will definitely extend his contract.
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11/05/2010 21:44:00

I think Wenger should extend his contract. Even with his current contract (expiring in 2011), he took his own time before extending it and there was some speculation and uncertainty before he did so. So, its natural for Wenger to take his time as he did it before. I think someone made a point earlier about how well Wenger has ridden the tough financial times, and he should be given the chance to benefit from the increased money available. He's earned that. I still think he's the best man for the job, although he needs to make some changes in the club - in the coaching department (esp the goalie coach), in the medical department and some changes to the squad.
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12/05/2010 07:52:00

I agree Prits, but only if he address's the issues our squad and team so urgently (& obviously) need. Would you want him as manager 2011/12 if we started and finished the upcoming season with only Almunia and Fabianski performing as we know only they can, in goal?
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12/05/2010 11:35:00

It could be Wenger’s frustration at not winning a trophy this year that is making him step back a bit and evaluate his future with the club. I think he honestly believed that we would win something this year, but after this season’s relative failure, and on the back of two very similar seasons, he now has to reconsider whether he has the energy to try again next year. The inexplicable injury list and the violence that Arsenal FC is subjected to in the EPL seem set to continue. Does he really want to commit himself to this annual frustration for another few years? I think that we have had the same problem for three seasons – the defence – and Wenger has been unable to solve the conundrum. The additional cash that appears to be available will be a relief to him and he can look towards a quick fix. That might be just enough to make put pen to paper, that and the expectation of an injury-free 2010 – 2011 season.
Sir Henry
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12/05/2010 14:56:00

Arsene, to my mind, has been a great manager for Arsenal in a very difficult financial period for the game and the club, new Stadium and all (just as Churchill was a great war time PM; pardon the parallel). I cannot think of a better man for the job now, considering how he handled the demands of the period; most managers will wilt under the pressure of going 2 years without a trophy, at a top level club as ours, not to speak of 5 years. Arsene stood firm and kept faith with his ideals and ultimately, the club's; a fact which has had many brand him 'stubborn'. Why anyone would assume he would, deliberately, not want to 'address' the issues the club so urgently needs is beyond me. Of course there were constraints and he has succeeded even with these limitations. For me, he deserves one last hurrah, especially now that the club's finances can allow some latitude to bring in the ideal players. We all know how he shrewd he can be when he has the resources. He will sign an extension for this reason; I feel he needs to win the CL for us and this should be motivation enough for him.
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12/05/2010 22:59:00

Well said Julie
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13/05/2010 11:34:00

Excellent post Julie.
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13/05/2010 11:47:00

"Whose first name mirrors that of the club". I like that one (very uncanny, really). Always wondered if someone took note of this fact when we went for him.
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13/05/2010 11:54:00

Hey! What happened to Julie's last post? Or is it my eyes?
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13/05/2010 12:04:00

Naijagunner - Nope, it's not your eyes mate, it has gone!!!???
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13/05/2010 12:43:00

What did Julie say?
Sir Henry
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13/05/2010 13:29:00

he will definetly sign a new deal and we're gonna see Arsene at our club for a long time. this is the kind of club that gets into your blood, and being here for almost 15 years now, Arsene is Arsenal. the tough period of moving to a new stadium is coming to an end and now when the golden age is about to start for our club, i dun see Arsene giving it upto someone else to manage it after doing all the hardwork himself..
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13/05/2010 21:27:00

Hey!!!! Who nobbled my post?? It's gone!!! Have to try and remember it now. Here goes: First of all Uskok, you are a thicko. I don't like Harry Redknapp but I am willing to admit he has done a very good job at spuds. So try to find an original thought! About the Boss. As frustrated as I have been these past 6 weeks, it is when I am faced with the chance of losing him that I am reminded of all the reasons why I "love the bones" of Arsene. They are thus: for all the trophies and achievements of his tenure; for that unsurpassable, unforgettable Invincibles season, for delivering CL football year-in and year-out and making Arsenal a regular in the QF, SF stages with at least one Final appearance; for revolutionizing the club and delivering its wonderful footballing philosophy; for his intelligent involvement in the total management of AFC; for responsibly putting Arsenal's long-term interests and stability ahead of his own short-term advantage; for delivering a world-class new stadium built around a FANTASTIC pitch; for showing class in the face of utter shysters like Allardyce, Brown and Pulis; for showing stoicism in the face of rabid xenophobia in great swathes of the press and pundits AND not least because he gave us Thierry and Cesc. So although I know the day will come, you will forgive me if I prefer to put off that painful, sorrowful parting, a little longer. It will be nigh on impossible to replace a manager whose DNA is mixed in the very bricks and mortar of the club, and as I said before, whose very name mirrors that of the club, as if it were a relationship by divine appointment. Arsene-al indeed. What'll we do without him when he's gone? Next season will bode much for what AW may do next. All I can say is Bonne Chance, le Professeur.
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13/05/2010 23:19:00

Lovely post, julie. You got me all choked up and teary-eyed.
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14/05/2010 13:03:00

You may well discover that the dragons you call UEFA and FIFA plus the FA, may ride to your rescue, insisting on the proper financing of football teams and not allowing teams to spend more than they can properly finance without massive amounts of debt, or a rich sugar daddy. Whilst you have debt due to the Emirates, I don't think properly managed debt caused by infrastructure expansion will be included. The inability of clubs to spend and pay massive amounts due to the new rules, may tilt the playing field back towards clubs like Spurs and Arsenal who properly manage their clubs finances.
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17/05/2010 07:20:00

... and this may renew the enthusiasm of Wenger along with the domestically applied squad size limits and home grown rule the Premiership is introducing.
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17/05/2010 07:22:00


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