Was it ever really in doubt that Arsene Wenger would not walk away from Arsenal? The news that the Frenchman has signed a new 2 year deal, should be a surprise of sorts given Arsenal’s recent lack of titles, but the board evidently and emphatically love him.
And there’s much to love about Wenger, that is of course unless you are former defender Tony Adams who has been outspoken about the Frenchman in recent weeks. Criticizing is one thing, suggesting that Wenger could not coach himself out of a paper bag is another.
Wenger told the board that they needed to look at Arsenal’s performance in the FA Cup final as recommendation of why he should stay. And if truth be told, based on what we witnessed in 90 minutes you would be a fool not to retain a manager. However Wenger and Arsenal have played the same trick on many occasions during the last decade, where a huge result in a certain game towards the end of the season has been used to justifying keeping the machine going. Well if it ain’t broken and all that….. But this is supposed to be the cut-throat world of football, Wenger in a parallel universe would have been sacked sometime in 2007, and four different managers would have passed through the doors at Emirates Stadium since then.
That’s why in an odd sense it’s almost welcoming to see Wenger still at Arsenal, he’s somehow survived it all where many managers even if successful have been sacked. That’s why it was never realistic that Wenger would ever have ended up at the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona. And this is why Wenger, even though so frustrating is still very important to football. In Wenger we are hanging onto the last remnants of football as we once knew it. When he came to the Premier League he changed the way players were trained, their diets and outlook on the game. He was seen back at the end of the 1990s as Mr. business man, a cold calculated figure who, with his Mediterranean chic would kick out the likes of the Sam Allardyce’s, Alan Curbishley’s and Harry Redknapp’s, at least down to the Championship.
But now Wenger is that man, a man of the people against a hierarchy basically owned by pay tv. They want him gone for a story, for a new chapter in Arsenal’s history. But Wenger remains, and there is something quite romantic in that notion.
Whether Arsenal gain from Wenger staying is anyone’s guess. Football would certainly be a winner if he was able to win another league title with the Gunners. It would, absolutely be the ultimate comeback. If he fails, we should check ourselves in the mirror before laughing, because Wenger has given such a great deal to football, well beyond the going on’s of the football pitch.