Arsenal chairman Ivan Gazidis has recently reaffirmed his belief that Arsene Wenger is the right man to lead Arenal "for the long term".

Wenger is a role model for many aspiring young managers, due to his epic reign at Arsenal that has spanned from 1996 to the present day.

His longevity at Arsenal has been overshadowed by Sir Alex Ferguson, but now he has retired, Wenger has become the longest-serving Premier League manager, by quite a considerable distance - after all, every other Football League club has changed manager in the last eight years.

I asked an Arsenal supporter about his views on Wenger, and he said: "Arsenal fans absolutely adore the man". 

He identified the same reasons as myself; he coped exceptionally with the stadium shift from Highbury to the Emirates, and managed to balance the books superbly in the aftermath of that financial goliath.

He also pointed out one fact that I believe has kept Wenger in his job: to use a cliché, he lives Arsenal. He dedicates his whole life to the management of Arsenal, researching opponents and youth prospects while out of work.

However, the supporter also pointed out the less positive side: "If he doesn't go for transfers this summer, and if he doesn't win a trophy next season, discontent will definitely grow".

Wenger's arguably dogmatic approach to transfers - sticking to his academy players where possible - has drawn stick from all sides, although had he not been like this we might not have seen the full talent of players such as Cesc Fàbregas, Jack Wilshere and Ashley Cole.

Wenger's doubts about the transfer market were affirmed by Andrei Arshavin, who leaves on a free at the end of June. However, Santi Cazorla has shown Wenger that players can come in from outside the club and do well.

If Wenger does not make another signing like that this summer - perhaps a replacement for Robin van Persie - then the fans will be a lot more expectant of Wenger to win them a trophy to end their well documented drought of nearly a decade.

Arsenal are, undoubtably, a great side, as shown by their 'Invincibles' run of 2003/04. But waiting since 2005 for their next trophy has surely been too long.

This is where I think Gazidis is wrong.

Wenger is not for the long term. Not unless he can bring Arsenal glory within these next two seasons. 

The moment he reaches a trophyless 10 years, unless there is a drastic change in Arsenal's fortunes - maybe runners-up in the Premier League, Champion's League and FA Cup would be enough - Gazidis will have been proved wrong and Wenger will surely have to go.

And I cannot see Arsenal changing that drastically without some major structural shuffling. Gazidis has placed faith in Wenger, but no side which has gone 49 games unbeaten should have to wait this long for a trophy.

Coupled with Wenger's continued selling of Arsenal's best players - Henry, Fàbregas, van Persie, Cole - I think the viability of Wenger's reign is coming under increasing pressure.

I will incur the wrath of a lot of people for saying this, but I feel it has to be said.

Arsenal - it's time to let go of Wenger.

 

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Arsenal