Arsene Wenger could leave Arsenal for Paris Saint-Germain this summer, according to a report from the Daily Telegraph's Paul Hayward. Hayward, the Telegraph's chief sports writer, is widely respected among sports journalists, but that doesn't necessarily mean the report is worthy of our full trust.
For now, the report is just that—a report. It might or might not turn out to be true. For supporters, however, the most significant takeaway could be the increasing ease with which it's possible to envision Arsenal without Arsene.
According to Hayward's story, PSG's Qatari owners believe they can lure Wenger to Paris this summer, despite his having one season left on his contract. The club's "most senior figures" reportedly believe they have convinced Wenger to leave a year early.
If not, that's covered, too:
Their least optimistic scenario is that he will move to Paris in the summer of 2014 when his current deal at Arsenal expires. But PSG’s owners have sounded adamant in recent days that they can tempt him to cross the channel 12 months early.
The club’s proprietors, who have spent heavily on the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Javier Pastore and Ezequiel Lavezzi, and who signed David Beckham on a six-month deal in January, have told friends that Wenger is on his way to Paris.
PSG's current manager, Carlo Ancelotti, likely will replace Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid, according to the report. Hayward cites French publication Le Parisien, which has reported that Wenger will meet with PSG officials next week.
If this all sounds a bit too neat, there might be a reason for that. With so much conjecture and so many working parts—Mourinho would have to leave Real in order for Ancelotti to make room at PSG for Wenger, who has a year left on his contract and is not in danger of being sacked—the report stands on unsteady ground.
Hayward's "most senior figures" are not named, but that's not necessarily a problem. More problematic is the potential discrepancy between what they are reportedly telling their associates and what will actually happen. This is, in other words, hearsay.
What's more, the Telegraph has been wrong about Arsenal in the recent past. As Arseblog points out, the story about a £1.5 billion Arsenal takeover originated with the Telegraph, and that report was incorrect.
Wenger himself addressed the ongoing rumors this week (per ESPN FC), saying he is "preparing for the next match and next season with Arsenal." That's not an outright denial, but the rest of his comments suggest he will not move on this summer.
"I've always seen my contracts through," he added, "and it's not at my age that I'm going to change."
Wenger might yet go back on his word, but after more than 16 years of service to the club, that seems unlikely. That is not to imply, however, that Wenger will stay with the club following the expiration of his current contract.
As Arsenal's trophy drought stretches on and the fans become more restless, it becomes easier by the day to foresee the end of Wenger's tenure with the club. A break is coming—make no mistake about it—but it will most likely will not come this summer.