Arsene Wenger Reacts to Reports He Will Leave Arsenal for Barcelona

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2014

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - MARCH 10:  Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looks on during the Arsenal training session at London Colney on March 10, 2014 in St Albans, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
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Arsene Wenger his played down reports suggesting he could replace Gerardo Martino as Barcelona head coach, committing his future to Arsenal with a simple statement, per Miguel Delaney of

The Frenchman has long been linked with signing a new Emirates contract, reported by Jeremy Wilson of the Telegraph, but he is yet to confirm a prolonged stay. This has led to speculation suggesting he could be lined up as a replacement for Tata, who has come under fire for La Blaugrana's failing season in Spain.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 22:  Arsene Wenger manager of Arsenal gestures during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Sunderland at Emirates Stadium on February 22, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
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Barcelona are currently four points off Real Madrid at the La Liga summit. The recent loss to Valladolid—who managed just their fifth win of the season with the 1-0 victory—has left Martino's men in a difficult position as we head toward crunch time.

Indeed, failure to beat Los Blancos in a crucial El Clasico fixture could spell the Argentinian's end on March 23.

Although the 4-1 aggregate win over Manchester City advanced Barca to the Champions League quarter-finals, Martino's emphasis on rotation and attempt to alter the Catalan giants' almost patented style of football has caused friction all season long.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 11:  Head coach Gerardo 'Tata' Martino of FC Barcelona faces the media during a press conference ahead the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second Leg match against Manchester City at the Sant Joan Despi Sport Complex on March 11
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Wenger is certainly qualified for the Camp Nou post and would arrive with the right attributes to be successful. The experienced 64-year-old loves to play fast-paced, attacking football that is defined by ball retention and quick passes. This is comparable to Barca, who established an era-defining effectiveness built upon similar traits during Pep Guardiola's reign.

Correlations between the two clubs' philosophies are often made, and Arsenal's season has mimicked Barca's rather succinctly. Top of the league and in control with a number of profitable displays, a sudden loss of form has hampered their chances of winning the domestic division.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 08:  Josep Guardiola the Barcelona coach celebrates as Arsene Wenger the Arsenal coach looks on during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Barcelona and Arsenal at the Nou Camp Stadium on March 8, 2011 i
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The Gunners have won just two of their last five Premier League games and failed to beat Bayern Munich in either leg during their round of 16 Champions League tie. Currently seven points behind Chelsea with a game in hand, the team's most likely route of success is through the FA Cup.

Wenger is obviously committed to his team and may wish to bow out with success. Like Sir Alex Ferguson calling time on his Manchester United tenure with his final Premier League triumph, Wenger will want to go out on a high.

Barcelona is undoubtedly a tempting prospect, one that fits excellently with Wenger's doctrine of playing attractive football, but it is unlikely the Frenchman would call time on his 17-year Arsenal career without returning the Gunners to former glory.