The futures of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and star players Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez are reportedly under threat because of the increasing protests from frustrated Gunners fans.
That's according to Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail, who reported the Frenchman has the "unequivocal backing of the club's board." However, "increasing bitterness from supporters who once revered him has shaken the manager."
Meanwhile, the club are concerned the vocal criticism of Wenger and the team could throw a spanner in the works during talks with Ozil and Sanchez over new deals.
According to John Cross of the Mirror, "there is mounting concern that stars [Ozil] and [Sanchez] have yet to commit themselves to new contracts." Mokbel also added: "The club had been confident Ozil and Sanchez would stay, but recent turmoil has raised fears the duo may look elsewhere."
Per Cross, Wenger is worried the team will be negatively affected by the unrest, which could have a knock-on effect of the club failing to make the top four. Convincing their stars to sign new contracts will be much more difficult without Champions League football.
Arsenal were dumped out of the FA Cup at home to Watford on Sunday, putting an end to their hopes of becoming the first team since the 19th century to win the competition three years in a row.
Their Champions League campaign will almost certainly come to an end on Wednesday barring a miraculous turnaround against Barcelona at the Camp Nou, while in the league they are 11 points off the top and just three ahead of West Ham United in fifth place.
Journalist and Arsenal fan Piers Morgan has long been one of the most vocal supporters calling for Wenger to leave:
Piers Morgan @piersmorgan
Arsène, if you care about this club as much as you claim, it's time to go. #afc https://t.co/HnlzRdGC7p3/13/2016, 3:28:33 PM
The frustrations of the Emirates faithful are understandable, particularly with this season representing a huge missed opportunity if Arsenal fail to win the title given all of their usual rivals have struggled.
Their form in 2016 does not make for pleasant reading, per Sky Sports News HQ:
Sky Sports News HQ @SkySportsNewsHQ
Here are Arsenal's results in all competitions since January 13, 2016 #SSNHQ https://t.co/xNX6LcCwdY3/14/2016, 1:53:53 PM
Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright has long been a loyal supporter of his old mentor Wenger, but he and fellow BT Sport pundit David James are concerned the team are becoming too predictable:
BT Sport Football @btsportfootball
While @SpursOfficial have "changed", @IanWright0 says "same old @Arsenal" are failing in the must-win games. https://t.co/CDyKgGmS2L3/13/2016, 4:22:04 PM
As Mokbel noted, Arsenal's board will let Wenger leave on his own terms, so if he doesn't resign his position he'll at least be in charge until the end of next season when his current deal expires.
The difficulty for the club if he were to leave in the coming months is the lack of top candidates to replace him, with their domestic rivals snapping up two of them in recent months, per BBC Sport's Phil McNulty:
Phil McNulty @philmcnulty
Arsenal's longer-term problem is prime contenders at one time - Klopp and particularly Guardiola - are now committed elsewhere.3/14/2016, 8:18:46 AM
Wenger has faced difficult times with the club before. Perhaps none as disastrous as this season, should they fail to win the league, but they have not prompted his exit yet.
If Arsenal should also miss out on the Champions League that could change the situation, otherwise the Frenchman's determination will likely see him fight on rather than quit.
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