Boot Room: ‘Wenger delusional if he stays on at Arsenal’

Signing two-year contract extension would just plunge club into further acrimony

Gulf News

If reports are true and Arsene Wenger is really about to sign a new two-year contract extension with Arsenal, someone at the North London club might actually have to step in and say enough is enough.

Wenger is clearly delusional if he thinks him staying is either; A) what the fans and players want, or B) what’s in the best interests of the club.

He obviously can’t let go, so the decision really needs to be made for him.

No one’s disputing the fact that he’s been a great servant for the Gunners, bursting onto the scene as a revolutionary with three Premier League titles since joining in 1996, but the last of those wins was 13 years ago and he now needs to call it a day as he’s become outdated.

He’s always previously survived the chop because he’s satisfied the club’s profit margins by achieving consistent top four league finishes to ensure 19 consecutive Uefa Champions League participations.

That factor, along with sporadic FA Cup wins — only two out of his total six of which have been won in the past 12 years — have kept the wolf from the door.

But after Saturday’s 3-1 defeat away to West Brom, leaving them on a run of four defeats from the last five league fixtures, Arsenal are now sixth in the league, 19 points behind leaders Chelsea and six points behind fourth-placed Liverpool, with 11 games remaining.

Not forgetting the recent 10-2 humiliation to Bayern Munich in the last 16 of the Champions League.

If they don’t finish top four and thus fail to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in 20 years; and don’t beat Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final to win their usual cup of solace, reasons for keeping Wenger are at an all-time low.

Fans have long been running out of patience with the Frenchman’s lack of winning drive and his acceptance to just bob along inside the top four, but now that he’s wide of that mark, he’s at his most vulnerable, and it’s shocking that the offer of a contract extension is still even on the table.

The club obviously want to do the respectful thing by offering him a new contract in the hope that he will politely decline, but the danger is that if he actually signs an extension, the club might dip even further.

Now is the time to announce he is going to bow out and relieve the pressure surrounding the club, hopefully changing the minds of the wantaway players, and persuading them to put in their best for Wenger’s last few games until a successor is appointed, maybe even winning the FA Cup or achieving a top four finish for the best possible send-off.

The alternative however, would see fans boil over, players leave and potential new buys dodge the club. There is simply no way Wenger will be able to turn things around from here as the atmosphere is too acrimonious and untenable. All that will be achieved is the inevitable further tarnishing of his legacy, so he should leave now while the decision is still his to take.

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SPORT PICTURE OF THE DAY: May 26, 2017


Ferrari's German driver Sebastian Vettel steers his car during the second practice session at the Monaco street circuit in Monaco.

AFP