Following on from my previous blog post, it seems following this increased recruitment of players that Arsene Wenger is no longer top of the hierarchy when it comes to recruitment at Arsenal. He has a reputation as a manager who comes across as stubborn when it comes to signing big-money players, ignoring the deafening clamour from Arsenal fans who demanded marquee signings year after year. To be fair to him his lack of spending was down to keeping the bigger picture of financial stability firmly in his mind’s eye after a huge outlay of funds went to moving to the Emirates stadium twelve years ago. So either the relatively new strategy of spending large amounts of money on already established players is a sign that Wenger has finally realised that this is the only way to keep up with the Manchester clubs, Chelsea and Liverpool; or that it is more the case that he has been ordered to buy these players by the club’s board, or even considering the possibility that he didn’t sanction these transfers in the first place, and that it was out of his control.
The evidence does seem to point that way, in that Arsenal now have someone at the club with the job title of head of recruitment, even though it was felt that Arsene Wenger was previously the one who oversaw such matters. It begs the question then, that after 21 years at Arsenal, with over a thousand games as manager under his belt and numerous amounts of silverware, that Wenger’s grip on power at the club may be loosening. He did sign a new two year contract at the club before the start of this season, but it is my opinion that his reign may come to a premature end in terms of his current contract still having more than a year left to run, if he is not able to capitalize on tying Mesut Ozil down to a new contract and the signings of Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang.
With his team faltering in the Premier league, that last Champions league spot looking increasingly out of reach, Wenger’s best chance of holding onto his job for another season may rest entirely on whether they can win the Europa League, which by doing so would give them a back-door entrance into Europe’s top competition. This was an approach taken by Manchester United last season after they themselves failed to finish in the top four, and is probably more realistic for Arsenal if they cannot turn around their plundering form in the league. What is clear, is that a large percentage of Arsenal fans would have already liked to have seen Arsene Wenger shown towards the door, but have seen him hold onto power like a Prime Minister with a tiny House of Commons majority. The wolves have been scratching away at the door for years though, so surely an unsuccessful season this year will result in his exit and ultimately the end of an era at Arsenal.
If Wenger does depart it will leave a pair of shoes that will be almost as hard to fill as his former rival Sir Alex Ferguson left when he retired from his post as Man. United manager after over 26 years in the job. This would no doubt be welcomed by many Arsenal fans, but in football these days it is rare, and almost unheard of, for a manager to be afforded as long as Wenger has when he hasn’t lived up to the fans’ high expectations in a long while. Owners, chairman, CEOs, board members, and all kinds of investors in such a prestigious club such as Arsenal want to see tangible reward for their investment in the club, and with the money spent on transfers, you feel Arsene Wenger is at the last chance saloon when it comes to the club where he has spent almost a third of his life at the helm.