Arsene Wenger has been deeply affected by criticism following Arsenal's latest slump in results, according to a source close to the club.
Arsenal have seen their title challenge fall away in the last five days, losing 6-0 to Chelsea before drawing 2-2 against Swansea. Wenger admitted that he is now more concerned with being caught by Everton, who lie six points behind but have a game in hand and still have to play Arsenal at Goodison Park.
The Swansea game saw Arsenal go in at half-time trailing 1-0 and the players left the field to a chorus of boos ringing around the Emirates Stadium. After conceding a late equaliser, frustrations also told at full-time.
Having gone nine years without a trophy, Wenger has grown used to criticism but it is understood that the latest calls for him to quit the club have shaken him more than ever before.
An Arsenal source told the Daily Express: “Arsene has been affected by the criticism.
“Previously it was all water off a duck’s back to him because he was so sure of what he wanted and so sure of the course he was on.
“But he has been really shaken by this, for the first time.”
Wenger is yet to sign a new contract with Arsenal but is believed to have agreed a two-year extension in principle. He has decided to wait until the end of the season to sign it, leaving the club concerned that a dramatic U-turn could leave them without a manager.
As a result, Arsenal officials are busy drawing up a contingency plan should Wenger decide to call time on his stint in north London. Everton manager Roberto Martinez and Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp are believed to be high on their shortlist.
Arsenal entertain Manchester City at the weekend in a game that could put the Gunners in deeper trouble. City are busy chasing the title and beat Manchester United 3-0 at Old Trafford to confirm that they troubles away from home are well and truly over.