Predicting Where Arsenal Could Be When Arsene Wenger's Next Contracts Ends
According to Sami Mokbel of The Daily Mail, Arsenal are preparing a staggering £24 million contract offer for Arsene Wenger. Should Wenger sign, his reign at Arsenal would extend across two entire decades.
The proposed contract would be for another three seasons, expiring at the end of the 2016/17 campaign. Where will Arsenal be when that time comes around?
It's impossible to know for sure. Football is nothing if not unpredictable. However, based on current trends and detailed observation of Wenger's management methods, we can make an educated guess.
Arsenal's bright start to the 2013/14 season has been a big factor in prompting the Arsenal board to make this generous contract offer. If the Gunners had struggled, the board might have been less forthcoming. However, the team's excellent form has seen support grow for Wenger from both the board and the fans, who sang his name joyously during the recent 2-0 victory over Napoli.
A big factor in the upsurge in the team's fortunes has been the arrival of Mesut Ozil. Wenger broke both the club's transfer record and his own habit for parsimony to bring in the German playmaker, and the result has been a big lift in morale for everyone attached to the club.
Many fans will be hoping Arsenal can make a second stellar signing in January to boost their bid for silverware. A striker is atop the agenda. Having failed in high-profile summer moves for the likes of Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez, Arsenal fans will be hoping Wenger can make use of his new resources to bring in the support Olivier Giroud badly needs.
However, it's unlikely that Wenger will be able to secure a player of Ozil's calibre in January. Acquiring elite players mid-season is infamously tricky. Wenger may opt to keep his powder dry and wait for the summer.
That could cost Arsenal's league challenge dearly. However, Wenger's team ought to have more than enough to retain their place in the top four, especially with both Manchester clubs floundering. The Gunners' impressive team spirit could also help them bring home a domestic cup to end the wait for silverware and commemorate the 10th anniversary of Wenger's extraordinary "Invincibles" side.
That would provide a terrific base for Wenger to build upon. Heading into his new contract, he'd have a squad reinvigorated by the delight of lifting a trophy and with a growing belief that they could mount a sustained title challenge in the years to come.
The summer would hopefully bring another signing in Ozil's class, probably in the forward department. The likes of Bacary Sagna and Per Mertesacker could sign extensions to their deals, ensuring Wenger's young squad will be peppered with experience. Thomas Vermaelen might depart in search of first-team opportunities, with Mertesacker taking the armband on a permanent basis. The appointment of the German would make sense: he is a natural leader for the growing German core at the club, and his game does not rely on pace, ensuring he could play well in to his mid-30s.
Over the following two years that German contingent might grow, with other players following Ozil, Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski to the club. Serge Gnabry will graduate to become a permanent member of the first team, and Wenger may launch raids for the likes of Dortmund pair Marco Reus and Ilkay Gundogan.
Arsenal could be established as one of the Premier League's elite teams, fighting it out with a resurgent Manchester United, who are spending big in an attempt to recapture the glory days of Sir Alex Ferguson.
In 2016/17, Arsenal will enter Wenger's final season as favourites for the Premier League title. What an extraordinary way to mark 10 years at the Emirates Stadium if Wenger could raise that prized trophy aloft one final time.
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