According to ESPN, Arsene Wenger has been offered a new three-year contract worth £24 million by Arsenal. However, Le Prof has decided not to sign the deal on offer and will instead wait until at least halfway through the season before he makes up his mind. Arsenal fans want their legendary manager to sign the deal now.
Speaking to the media before the Gunners' Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund, Wenger said:
I will make a decision halfway through the season.
Deep down I have an idea what I want to do, but give me a bit of time.
What interests me above all is to meet the expectations of our fans.
Considering the phenomenal run Arsenal have been on since last March, this is not exactly the news that Gunners fans want to hear.
To say that the last 13 months have been a roller coaster for the North London club would be a huge understatement. In September 2012, the Gunners were well-placed in third position to mount a title challenge.
Yet just over two short months later and Arsenal were languishing in 10th after losing at home to Michael Laudrup's Swansea City—the Gunners' lowest league position since 1994—and qualifying for the Champions League was nothing but a pipe dream.
Somehow or other the Frenchman turned the season around. A second-half-of-the-season surge after losing 2-1 to bitter North London and Champions League rivals Tottenham Hotspur saw Arsenal go unbeaten for the final 13 games. The Gunners won 11 and drew twice in that phenomenal run and pipped Spurs to fourth place on the final day of the season.
They then started off this season with a defeat to Aston Villa that was roundly met with a chorus of boos from the unhappy Gooners in the stands at the Emirates Stadium.
Again he managed to sway the fans and turn things around in the face of adversity. The defeat to Dortmund is Arsenal's only blip since the Villa loss with the defeats bookending an amazing run of 11 wins and just one draw.
To say that Wenger had turned Arsenal around would also be a huge understatement. Le Prof worked a minor miracle.
Now the club wants the Frenchman to commit and he is seemingly not ready.
Here, Bleacher Report offers five reasons why Arsene Wenger must sign a new deal at Arsenal.
There is no doubting Arsene Wenger's loyalty to Arsenal as a manager. Although in recent times there has been a doubt about certain sections of fans towards the Frenchman.
There is no doubt that he has won over the fans since the Aston Villa loss on Day 1 of the Premier League season.
Since 1996 he has been feted by some of the world's best teams and has been linked with numerous jobs.
The Sun says he turned down Brazil in 2012, Goal has him turning down Real Madrid in 2009, this summer he rejected Paris Saint-Germain FC according to the Guardian, and he ruled himself out of the running to replace Pep Guardiola at Barcelona FC as reported by the Mirror.
Remember, those are just some of the rumors from the last four years.
In short, Wenger loves Arsenal and Arsenal loves Wenger.
He hinted to the London Evening Standard that he will sign the contract and retire at Arsenal.
I feel comfortable in this country because we share a common passion for football and as well I am very thankful for this country for having accepted me and giving me a chance.
I can see the rest of my life in England, why not?
He loves the club and the country. He knows he has to sign, his own conscience demands it.
Sir Alex Ferguson sold David Moyes a dud team at Manchester United.
The Scot got out at the perfect time as the final team he had built is coming to its natural end. There is no pace in midfield, the defense is a shambles, the wide players are headless chickens and only David de Gea, Robin van Persie and, soon to be out of contract, Wayne Rooney look anything like the class of player needed to win a title.
Now look at Arsenal. What do you see?
You find the best collection of midfielders outside of Bayern Munich. You find a young goalkeeper who is improving every day. You find a defense that is jelling well and not conceding goals and you find a striker that is putting the ball away.
Arsenal are by no means the finished article, but why would Arsene Wenger leave when all his plans seem to be coming to fruition?
He shouldn't. Wenger should sign the contract and see the unwritten one through with this young team.
He will never be able to forgive himself if he leaves too soon.
Jack Wilshere and the entire of Arsenal's right thinking players are advocates of the Arsene Wenger philosophy. They have bought into their mentor's fundamental belief in how the game should be played.
At times that philosophy has not worked and the team and manager have come under severe questioning from all quarters.
Wilshere warned fans to be careful of what they wish for when some called for Arsene Wenger's head following the Gunners' loss to Aston Villa. He talked to Zapsportz.com (via The Telegraph) recently.
I want to win things with Arsenal and I want to be there in the future, but if the boss leaves then things could change.
Arsenal are always in my heart and by signing a deal for the next five years shows my commitment to them and their commitment to me so at the moment everything is good.
Arsene Wenger has been there for so many years and he's always delivered trophies.
OK we've had a little dip in the last five or six years, but he's a great manager.
People who question his ability are ridiculous.
He's qualified for the Champions League for 16 years so I think he's the right man for the job.
Wilshere's interview is significant for two reasons:
- He threatens to leave if his mentor is sacked.
- He calls people who question Wenger's ability "ridiculous."
It is quite clear that Wilshere is one of the many jewels in the crown at Arsenal, and if he is coming out strongly to back his manager, then people should sit up and listen.
That includes Arsene Wenger.
Between fan protests, poor results, falling to 10th place in the English Premier League for the first time since 1994, calls for his head and the club's AGM in October being hijacked by irate fans, to say that 2012 was a tough year for Arsene Wenger would be something of an understatement.
The 2013 year, by contrast, has been amazing.
Arsenal have taken more points in this calender year than any other Premier League team. They have only lost twice this term and are deservedly leading England's top flight.
Their record since January 1 in all competitions reads as:
Played: Won: 26 Drawn: 7 Lost: 7
In short, Wenger has his team humming.
Why would anyone leave such a team on such a crest of a wave? Especially when he has worked so hard to prove the doubting Thomas' from within the club, and from outside, so wrong.
He could be employing the same tactic now, but it is also a risky one.
Playing Devil's advocate; Arsenal are just about to enter into an incredibly tough run of fixtures between now and January 1.
- Chelsea (Oct. 29 Home)
- Liverpool (Nov. 2 H)
- Borussia Dortmund (Nov. 6 Away)
- Manchester United (Nov. 10 A)
- Southampton (Nov. 23 H)
- Olympique de Marseille (Nov. 26 H)
- Cardiff City (Nov. 30 A)
- Hull City (Dec. 4 H)
- Everton (Dec. 8 H)
- SSC Napoli (Dec. 11 A)
- Manchester City (Dec. 14 A)
- Chelsea (Dec. 23 H)
- West Ham United (Dec. 26 A)
- Newcastle United (Dec. 29 A)
The Gunners are facing at least eight matches against what would be regarded as top-tier teams. Potentially, they could lose every one.
They also face a London derby against West Ham on Dec. 26 and then have to travel 450 km to play Newcastle United at St. James Park just three days later.
The most optimistic of Arsenal fans would tell you they will win every game. That, quite simply, will not happen. Nor will they lose every match for that matter.
If they win more than eight matches in this period they will be doing very well.
Anything less than five wins and there will almost be a crisis, and fans may be calling for his head.
Wenger knows this to be patently true.
Why would he risk such an outcome? Sign that contract, Arsene.