Why It's Time for Arsene Wenger to Bid Arsenal Goodbye This Summer
However, if anything is to come from Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement at Manchester United, which was confirmed by the team (h/t ESPN), it's that no manager is immune from being old and that, for even the very most successful managers, the time will eventually come where they should give it all up.
Has that time come for Gunners boss Arsene Wenger?
Here's five reasons why I'd suggest yes and why this summer is the perfect occasion for Wenger to call it quits on his managerial career at the North London club.
Lack of Trophies...
Arsenal fans will quickly tell you how long it's been since they last won a trophy. They'll also quickly point out that they've consistently been in the Champions League and top four of the Premier League for that entire time, but the reality is that it is trophies that define a manager's success.
It's especially true when we're not talking consistent second-places all the time.
Wenger hasn't won a trophy since the 2005 FA Cup, and it's that lack of success that means his time at the North London club should come to an end soon.
It hasn't been his fault, per say, but the buck does stop with him to an extent. The title-less run has come under his watch, and with the club poised to make another strong run at both English and European competitions next season, perhaps the time is right for Wenger to step back and allow another manager to come in and start his regime at Arsenal.
For there's nothing like a new manager to get a few wins on the board.
... Despite Having Very Good Players
Perhaps, the biggest blip on Wenger's resume has been not that he hasn't won any titles, however, but rather the fact he hasn't won titles despite having very good players.
And to make that worse, Wenger has failed to keep those players at the club when they've tried to build on success—which has invoked a climate at Arsenal that is almost two steps forward and two steps back.
Wenger should never have allowed guys like Thierry Henry, Patrick Viera, Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song and Robin van Persie to leave until they had retired properly.
Now, obviously, players move on, but the biggest issue was that Wenger seemingly didn't put up a fight. He didn't offer them more money, and he refused to accept that they would leave the Emirates for better pay—and the chance to win titles once more.
The North London club have a good, young, playing personnel on hand at the moment that should be groomed for great success in the next decade of Premier League football. But is Wenger the man whom Gunners have confidence in to sustain those players and ensure they remain at Arsenal?
Current Support Staff Is More Than Capable
However, as strong as both of those reasons are, the exact same arguments could be made for Wenger leaving Arsenal next season or the season after that.
What I'm trying to argue is that now is the time for Wenger to leave in a way that best suits the club and the manager himself. And the first of those reasons must come with the current support staff that Wenger has and the competency of the group he has at the Emirates Stadium.
If Wenger were to leave, Steve Bould (assistant) would have to come into serious consideration for the job—and rightly so, given his experience and knowledge of the playing personnel he'd be dealing with.
However, if the Gunners leave it longer until they look for another manager, guys like Bould will be gone. Rumors are already starting to circle, according to Matt Law of The Mirror, about Bould leaving for other Premier League clubs. So the time is now for Wenger to leave so that the Gunners can make sure the current support staff remain on board.
Alternatively, a new manager may bring with him his own support staff, and thus, the Gunners would not be short of suitable replacements or fill-ins when needed.
Barcelona showed this year in the Champions League that without a proper replacement who can coach as well as manage the team, success is difficult. Wenger needs to recognize that, and in order to ensure the same doesn't happen to his club, he needs to leave the Londoners this summer.
Other Managers Available
If Wenger is to leave in say, the next three years, you'd have to say that there is no better time than now for world-class managers who could replace the Frenchman.
And it's a key reason why he must leave this summer.
Chelsea will be looking for a new manager, so there's a team looking for a new manager there; Everton will be looking to do the same, assuming David Moyes is the new Manchester United boss. That's two managers who could have managed at Arsenal who will disappear off the potential radars.
Manuel Pellegrini is, perhaps, available from Malaga, as are Mourinho from Madrid and Heynckes from Bayern Munich given his wanting to remain as a manager.
It's highly unlikely that those guys are going to be free in two or three years' time, and Arsenal will struggle to, therefore, sign a new manager who possesses the same skills and resume as the managers who could be available now do.
After all, would Arsenal rather have Heynckes or Joakim Low in charge now, or wait another season under Wenger and get somebody like Michael Laudrup?
That doesn't seem like a hard question to answer.
Lack of Fan Support
But perhaps, the biggest reason of them all as to why the time is right for Wenger to leave Arsenal is that the North London club aren't the faithful army to Wenger that they once were.
They realize it's been a long time since their last title, and they realize they're falling behind United, City and Chelsea because they refuse to spend big in the transfer windows. They know that Wenger can't get them to the point that he used to be able to do, and so, they know it's time for him to leave.
#WengerOut has been incredibly popular this season for a reason—Arsenal fans don't want Arsene Wenger in charge of their club anymore. And in the midst of growing tensions and angst between the club and its supporters, Wenger must become the fall guy and either leave or let Gunners fans know as to when he will be departing from the North London club.
He would love to go out a champion like Sir Alex Ferguson, but he won't. Wenger is already a champion, and it's important that when he does eventually retire, we recognize him as one of the true greats of the sport—just like we've done for Ferguson throughout this week.
But that's not to say that the time isn't right for him to go.
His lack of success and inability to keep players—coupled with the timing of managers that could be available and his support—all point to one outcome.
Arsene Wenger must go. Be that on his terms or not.
Do you want Arsene Wenger to manage Arsenal next season?
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