The Conundrum Of The Arsène Wenger Era
Posted by John Smith | Published on March 1, 2017
Loyalty. A convoluted term that can be unpackaged and moulded into different meanings and perceptions. Whilst a difference in opinion is typically present, most ideologies lead towards the constant that loyalty is associated towards a strong feeling of allegiance. Regardless of your judgement regarding the situation of Arsène Wenger as manager of Arsenal Football Club, it’s clear that Le Professeur is simply the epitome of the term loyalty.
As for Arsène Wenger, it’s more than evident that throughout his twenty-year tenure at the North London club, he has experienced one of the greatest rollercoaster ride of emotions that a football manager could ever escapade.
When at the top, there were moments that would forever be etched in history. Invincibles. Double Winners. Coach of the Decade. Albeit, when at the bottom, there were moments that fans of Arsenal FC remain self-conscious about to this very day. Paris 2006. Nine years trophyless. Consequential financial struggles.
Yet through the varying ups and downs experienced in the last twenty years, one factor has remained present; the loyalty and devotion portrayed by Arsène Wenger towards the club to maintain their consistency as one of the best in the country. Regardless of the monumental offers from prestigious clubs including Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, and even the national team of his home country, France, Wenger has remained dedicated to the North London side.
Whilst his undying love for the club is unquestionable, one event that is consistently conversed is when the Frenchman will finally depart the capital city and conclude his illustrious career as a manager. This certain topic has sparked controversy across the Arsenal fanbase, with fans now being confounded to “units” under the terms AKB (Arsène Knows Best) and the WOB (Wenger Out Brigade).
For a manager who has taken the risk to sacrifice his entire legacy for the future of the club he adores is truly a spectacle, but the response he has received in return from certain fans is awful. Whilst some rightfully and respectfully hold up banners and posters to voice displeasure regarding the manager and the club as a whole, others turn to violence and hurl verbal abuse to the French manager as well as to other fellow Arsenal fans.
Regarding the career of the Arsenal manager, the overall atmosphere within the Emirates Stadium has also turned toxic with the fanbase as divided as ever. Albeit, typically an apathetic and quiet atmosphere, the controversy surrounding the two different units has helped produce this “repugnant” aura within the ground between the two sides of the Arsène Wenger conundrum.
The displeasure of some fans is indisputably justified, as the once-great manager has failed to win the Premier League title in 13 years, and counting, along with the consistent failure of making a true statement of desire in European competition. Despite building squads capable of greatness in this period, Wenger has proven time and time again of his incapability to alter his tactical philosophy for the better as well as mount a genuine threat on either the Premier League or Champions League trophy.
In contrast, the tenderness displayed by the fans on the other side of the spectrum towards the Frenchman are also prominent. Across his tenure, Wenger has cemented himself as the longest serving, and greatest overall, manager in the history of Arsenal Football Club. Although failing to bring more silverware to the North of London, the overall work ethic and devotion displayed throughout this rollercoaster ride makes it clear on why so many people decide to remain supportive of Le Professeur.
Nevertheless, whilst there is potential for the Arsène Wenger Era to conclude on the 30th of June, there is no intention present that the manager’s illustrious career will also meet its finale. Speaking ahead of the FA Cup game versus Sutton United, the Arsenal manager confirmed that this season would not be his last in the sport, ‘No matter what happens, I will manage next season. Whether it is here or not, that is for sure’…’It is important for the club to make the right decision for the future. I did not work here for 20 years not to care.’
As for the Frenchman, his managerial options upon a potential departure at North London aren’t coherent. The only big club currently experiencing managerial struggles are FC Barcelona. Despite the former success of current boss Luis Enrique, the Spaniard’s Barcelona side remain distant from rivals Real Madrid in the league table whilst the Catalonia-side were recently humiliated in the Champions League to Paris Saint-Germain.
Consequently, if Barca were to part ways with the current boss, reports claim that they would target Sevilla manager Jorge Sampaoli to take over. French giants Paris Saint-Germain appeared to be a likely destination in former years, but after appointing former Sevilla manager Unai Emery last year, a return to France also appears lost. It appears that should Le Professeur leave Arsenal, his options would be fairly limited, with a move to the Chinese Super League one of the more likelier destinations in comparison to that of a top club.
Finally, as for the North London club themselves, both positive and negative repercussions will presumably follow regardless of the Frenchman’s decision.
Should the Arsène Wenger era conclude on the 30th of June, the Arsenal board will need to work together for the first time to bring a new manager to the club. Taking into consideration the lack of knowledge some board members have, the new manager could fail to meet expectations with the likes of Eddie Howe and Manuel Pellegrini reported on in the past. Nonetheless, there is the potential present for the new manager to succeed standards as names such as Massimiliano Allegri and Diego Simeone reported on in the past too.
On the other hand, should Le Professeur remain in North London for years to come, it’s inescapable that the announcement will be met with backlash and riots within the fanbase. As noted prior, violence has occurred in the past between the opposing “units” of the Arsène Wenger spectrum with the atmosphere of the Emirates Stadium becoming more repulsive. Should Arsenal face two (or more) years with Wenger as manager, it’s clear that the fan base will take a turn for the rest.