After their worst start to an English league season in 50 years, things haven't exactly started well for Arsene Wenger at Arsenal this season.
True, factors have worked against the Frenchman, with Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri both leaving the club at the start of the current campaign and rising star Jack Wilshere being ruled out for months with an ankle injury. Throw in another injury problem for Thomas Vermaelen, and quite quickly the Gunners have fallen into crisis.
Defeats to Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool have forced Wenger to fly the white flag after just seven games, admitting the title is now beyond his side as a 12 point gap stares the club in the face.
The cold, hard facts of the case is that, under Wenger, Arsenal are no longer title contenders. In fact, they are struggling to be top four contenders in the current climate of the English league.
His record and standing within the club is unquestioned, and without the visionary manager there is little chance that the Gunners would have won three titles in the Premier League era.
However, the decline of his squad since the 'invincibles' of 2003-04 has finally taken complete control at the Emirates Stadium, a ground the club have been unable to win a trophy at since the move from Highbury in 2006.
Since 2006, both Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur have made significant improvements to challenge Manchester United, Chelsea and the Gunners. Whilst appearing to drop off the pace, Liverpool have also strengthened dramatically under Kenny Dalglish to challenge for an elite position in Europe.
And, whilst Arsenal have held onto their place in the top four over those five years, the title has continued to elude, and now appears further away then ever.
Sumer signings Mikel Arteta, Yossi Benayoun and Per Mertesacker are all well-respected and proven at either domestic or international level, but none suggest the club will be moving back towards the top of the table and scream title-contenders.
Gervinho appears a good buy from the Frenchman, whilst Park Chu-Young and Andre Santos are yet to get a chance to show their worth.
Perhaps the best show of Wenger's transfer eye is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, a Southampton academy graduate who has already shown glimpses of his potential.
The manager's track-record for bringing top quality young players to the club is unquestioned, with winger Theo Walcott, Spanish international Cesc Fabregas and French forward Nicolas Anelka three great examples. The later two made the club a profit of over £50 million, although it was there value on the pitch which helped the manager most.
His reluctance to buy 'big' is the undoubted achilles heel of Wenger though, with a deadline day splurge showing signs of desperation as much as a well-planned transfer strategy.
Planning is undoubtedly one of the strengths of Carlo Ancelotti, a stereotypical Italian with Serie 'A', Premier League and Champions League titles to his name.
During his time at Stamford Bridge, Ancelotti enjoyed a win ratio of 61%, the best he's had at any club during a 16 year managerial career, dismissing the myth that he wasn't suited to the style of play in English football.
An additional bonus is that the manager is actively looking to take a role in England, with quotes in the British press this morning stating the manager is well set in England.
"It's evident Wenger is wobbling and that within a few months Capello's place with the national team will go to an Englishman and free up a place at a club. I have a strong will to remain in England. For a coach, this is the ideal country," said Ancelotti.
Whilst Wenger might be 'wobbling', he has a number of allies in the Arsenal hierarchy, notably Ivan Gazidis, chief executive of the club.
Pulling the trigger on the manager's career with the club is going to be a tough task, and it's difficult to see 'the professor' in charge of any other club, particularly in England.
With this in mind, the club would be well advised to try and persuade Wenger to stay on, possibly in a 'director of football' role so well used by Liverpool and Spurs with Damien Comolli.
The Frenchman has been recognised as one of the key components in both clubs transfer dealings during his time at White Hart Lane and now Anfield, and Wenger could have a similar role at Arsenal with regards to tracking some of the best young players across the globe.
With Ancelotti's ability to provide stability, particularly in defence, whilst chasing some of the bigger names in the transfer market, the pair could forge an unlikely combination to help propel Arsenal back towards the top of the table.
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