Arsene Wenger might be immortal at Arsenal, but that doesn’t mean to say he will be manager forever.
As the 2013-14 season approaches, there is a growing sense that this campaign will determine whether or not Wenger’s future lies in North London.
The coming season could be his last.
As things stand, Arsenal’s French manager has just one year remaining on his Arsenal contract. According to the Daily Mail, Ivan Gazidis has expressed his desire to tie Wenger down to a new deal, but the spectre of PSG looms large.
The French giants have thus far been unable to lure a new manager to replace the departing Carlo Ancelotti, and according to The Telegraph they have a long-standing interest in Wenger.
The Guardian suggests the Parisian club are currently looking for a manager on a one-year deal. That would mean that come next summer a vacancy would appear again—Wenger would suddenly reappear on the agenda.
Arsenal will fear the negative impact caused by a season of speculation over their manager’s future.
Wenger’s recent record is far from flawless, but the Arsenal hierarchy will be keen to retain the services of a man who has achieved 15 consecutive top-four finishes. Gazidis will be eager to eradicate any suspicion that Arsenal’s manager is eyeing a departure via the Eurostar, and a new contract is the obvious way to remedy that.
However, even if Wenger decides to sign a new deal and the threat of PSG is assuaged, next season remains crucial.
For the first time in almost a decade, Arsenal are preparing to join European football’s big spenders. Speaking to the BBC, Gazidis said:
We have a certain amount of money which we have held in reserve. We also have new revenue streams coming on board and all of these things mean we can do some things which would excite you, but what excites Arsene isn't necessarily what excites you.
This year we are beginning to see something we have been planning for some time - the escalation in our financial firepower.
Those plans are already coming to fruition. The Telegraph suggest that Gonzalo Higuain is on the verge of completing a move from Real Madrid to the Emirates Stadium. Such a deal would instantly smash the Arsenal records for highest transfer fee and biggest salary.
Higain could be the figurehead of a new-look Arsenal team. The Gunners now have the financial power not just to keep their existing stars but also to augment them with genuinely world-class talent.
2013-14 could be a chance for Arsene Wenger to go out in style. If this is to be his final season in London, he’ll be desperate to redeem himself by ending Arsenal’s extended trophy drought.
Equally, it could be an opportunity to demonstrate he’s the man to lead Arsenal into an exciting future. Having spent so long prudently managing the club’s finances, Wenger might feel he has earned the opportunity to build a side capable of of challenging for major honours.
An Arsenal with financial might and Wenger at the helm could be a force to reckon with in 2013-14 and beyond.