In a saga which has rumbled on for much of the season, we finally have word that Arsene Wenger will be signing a new two-year contract to stay on as Arsenal manager, say the Times, but at what cost?
Supporters are already divided over their allegiances towards Wenger, whether they think he’s the right man for the job or that he should call time on his 21-year association with the club.
This season, despite the FA Cup win, has probably been the most turbulent and disappointing season in Arsenal’s history under Wenger.
Another embarrassing Champions League exit at the hands of Bayern Munich, illustrating that the team are a mile off competing with Europe’s elite, compounded by the fact the club failed to qualify for next season’s competition for the first time under Wenger – and that’s really struck home with their two biggest stars.
Both Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil have turned their noses up at new £280,000-a-week contracts because they fear the club aren’t going to be competitive enough to rival their peers for the Premier League title in the near future, let alone make their mark in the Champions League.
This worry stems from the manager as the Gunners have continued to regress and be cast adrift from the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and even Tottenham in the Premier League, is Wenger up to the challenge of securing Arsenal a seat at England’s top table?
Sanchez, coming off the back of his best season for the Gunners and playing a key role in their FA Cup success this season, is keen to leave the club at the earliest convenience.
Having fallen out with the manager, as well as a number of players, news of Wenger’s extension probably won’t sit well with the Chilean who is eager to push through a transfer to Bayern Munich at all costs this summer as Arsenal will refuse to deal with Premier League rivals Manchester City and Chelsea.
Ozil, on the other hand, is prepared to see next season out before making any drastic decisions over his future but he too is eager to leave sooner or later.
Due to the lack of interest in him this summer, he’s willing to run down his contract and move on a free transfer next year if that’s what it takes. Turning 29 in October, Ozil wants to focus on winning trophies which is something he feels he cannot do at Arsenal despite winning three FA Cups in four years.
Has Wenger’s decision to stay on put the final nail in the coffin for the futures of both Sanchez and Ozil? Well, it’s clear neither player buy into the long-term aims of this football club and that derives from the manager’s ability to carry out his duties successfully – something he failed to do this past season.
So Wenger stays, but has he pushed his two biggest assets out the door in the process? Time will tell.