Arsenal Deny Thomas Tuchel Reports Amid Latest Arsene Wenger Rumours

Christopher SimpsonFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2017

Dortmund's head coach Thomas Tuchel speaks during a TV interview prior to the German Bundesliga soccer match between Hertha BSC Berlin and Borussia Dortmund in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, March 11, 2017. Berlin defeated Dortmund by 2-1. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Michael Sohn/Associated Press

Arsenal have rejected reports that they have approached Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel to replace manager Arsene Wenger.

Sky Sports' Bryan Swanson relayed as much:

Wenger is in the final year of his contract with Arsenal, and per BBC Sport, he said on Saturday he had made a decision on his future and would announce it "very soon."

The manager said as much after Arsenal lost 3-1 to West Bromwich Albion, and Baggies boss Tony Pulis indicated his counterpart had decided to stay. Per The Sun's Neil Ashton, he said: "I’ll be surprised if he goes," and when asked why he replied: "because he told me."

The Guardian's Marcus Christenson had doubts about the Bild report (h/t Metro) linking Tuchel with the Gunners even before Arsenal dismissed it:

In the eight matches Arsenal have played in all competitions since losing 2-1 to Watford on January 31, they have won just three, against Hull City in the Premier League and non-league sides Sutton United and Lincoln City in the FA Cup.

They've lost the other five, 3-1 at the hands of Chelsea, Liverpool and most recently West Brom, along with two 5-1 thrashings by Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League.

The league defeats have left them in sixth place, six points outside the top four.

Like many, ESPN FC's Mattias Karen believed Wenger had indicated he was leaving after confirming he had made a decision following the West Brom defeat:

However, the Mirror's John Cross is convinced the Frenchman will stay put, a decision Bleacher Report UK's James McNicholas disagrees with:

Arsenal's poor run of form has seen protests against the manager intensify with each passing game, and during the match at the Hawthorns, a plane flying a "Wenger Out" banner could be seen above the stadium, though there was also a plane with an "In Arsene We Trust" banner, too.

The Gunners have been locked in a frustrating cycle of failure for much of the last decade, and that has culminated in a spectacular collapse this season.

Arsenal are out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage for the seventh year in a row and were dumped out in humiliating fashion, 10-2 on aggregate against Bayern. What's more, their usual place in next year's competition is under threat perhaps more so than it has ever been.

Even if they win their two games in hand on fourth-placed Liverpool, Manchester United also have two matches on the Reds and are two points ahead of the Gunners.

If Wenger has decided to sign a new deal at the club, announcing as much isn't likely to help in regards to the recent protests, but the uncertainty over his future is equally problematic.

Should Wenger announce he is leaving at the end of the season, it would likely have the positive effect of uniting the club and supporters behind him as the team make their final push for a top-four place and the FA Cup.