When the final whistle sounded at Huddersfield on Sunday, it brought Arsene Wenger’s association with Arsenal Football Club to an end.
Twenty-two years after ‘Arsene who?’ had first walked through the doors at Highbury, thanks to the astute business of David Dein, he was finished. His mission completed.
The manner of his leaving the club has been open to conjecture with some outlets suggesting that he had finally accepted he couldn’t take the Gunners any further, and others saying he was only going because he would’ve been pushed out otherwise.
For all that he’d done for the organisation, the latter would’ve been the most ignominious of endings.
So, what now? The urbane Frenchman clearly isn’t ready to retire from the game completely.
He’s already noted that he has received more offers than he expected but wouldn’t expand on what they were.
His nous and expertise would lend itself to a director of football role somewhere, but one gets the impression that Wenger always prefers the daily grind out on the training ground.
Despite Arsenal’s more recent form, and associated lack of trophies, there’s no denying that Wenger’s teams play some of the best football in the Premier League.
It’s obvious that if he were to recreate something similar elsewhere, there would be cachet attached for him.
At 68 years of age he isn’t a dinosaur in footballing terms, but is he still able to accept and take on board new ways of working, in order to further his own success?
Two decades ago he was a revolutionary but one of the recent criticisms of him is that Wenger has been too single minded in his devotion to what he believes is the way football should be played.
If he were winning games both domestically and in Europe, his methods wouldn’t be questioned of course, but the fact is that his expensively assembled squad didn’t win an away match in 2018.
It’s worth asking the question as to whether the Frenchman could accept not being able to create a dynasty similar to that which he has left behind in north London too.
Articulate and intelligent, a consultancy position at a high-ranking European club might be the best fit, though there will be television companies across the world that will be queuing up for his services as an analyst.
A TV career probably isn’t on his wish list, but he’s in the enviable position of being able to pick and choose what his next move is.
One thing is for sure. Whichever future path he treads, football needs to give Arsene Wenger back what he has given to football.
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