Until recently, the very idea that Arsene Wenger could be sacked from Arsenal was inconceivable. Here was the man whose name was indelibly linked with the club—and not just because they sound alike.
The modern Arsenal are built in Arsene Wenger’s image. Their playing style is the one he implemented. Their stadium is the one he helped design. Their story is inextricably linked with his.
However, recently there have been rumblings of discontent. The Arsenal supporters are facing an eighth consecutive season without a trophy, and they are not happy about it.
Inevitably, a section of the fan-base have turned their ire against the manager. For the first time there are very real doubts about whether or not Arsene Wenger is the right man to take Arsenal forward. His current contract expires in 2014, but there are many fans who feel he should not even be entitled to see out the remainder of his deal.
The argument of these disgruntled supporters is clear: Arsene Wenger is the man who is fully responsible for everything that takes place on the pitch and Arsenal’s performances this season have not been up to scratch. Those who would see Wenger sacked finger him as the man who has overseen Arsenal’s decline.
Many other fans, however, remember him as the man who designed Arsenal’s resurgence. This is the same Arsene Wenger who built the double-winning side of 1998, who carried Arsenal to an unbeaten season in 2004 and who masterminded a run to the Champions League final in 2006.
For the last decade or so he has kept Arsenal competitive on a relatively paltry budget. He has had to sell on star players and looked on as the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City spent extravagantly to build squads which superseded his own.
Despite those problems, year on year he has ensured that Arsenal qualified for the Champions League. Silverware may have been lacking, but Arsenal have not lost their place at European football’s top table.
This season, Arsenal have wobbled more than most. If they are to overhaul Tottenham they will need to put together an impressive run between now and the end of the season. There’s no-one better to lead them through such a period than Arsene Wenger: he has pulled this off before, most recently last season.
This is the time when Arsenal need to reward Arsene Wenger for his stewardship during the difficult period when the club were paying off the debts incurred by the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal might be closer to dropping out of the top four than ever, but they’re also on the brink of a financial reprieve.
New commercial deals are starting to kick in. Financial Fair Play is on the horizon. To sack Arsene Wenger now would be to deny him the chance to compete on a level playing field. After he has managed the club with such prudence so long, sacking him now would be disrespectful and disruptive.
Arsene Wenger has shown in the past that he is thoroughly capable of bringing glory to Arsenal. With the club on the verge of an increase in economic power, he must be afforded a chance to do so again.