I think it is safe to say that Arsene Wenger has lost the managerial prowess he once had nearly a decade ago after seeing his Arsenal side lose embarrassingly once again to a very good-looking Everton 3-0.
2014 has been a terrible year for the Gunners, the highlights being injuries to their superstars such as Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and more recently Mesut Özil and Jack Wilshere.
Then came the disastrous performances and results like the 6-0 defeat to Chelsea, the 5-1 defeat to Liverpool and the home draws to the struggling Manchester United and Swansea City.
Arsenal were on cloud nine before the new year, sitting nicely at the top of the table after a hard fought 1-0 victory over Newcastle. But since then, it has just been disappointment from the results to the false January transfer rumours (as per usual).
It was evident that the gunners' season was going to go into decline after the injuries to Ramsey and Walcott and the man who came in to replace these top draw players was Kim Kallstrom after the club was linked with such quality players like Julian Draxler, Miroslav Klose and Yohan Cabaye. The majority of their fans realised the title chances were probably finished after seeing no real season changers were brought in.
Cabaye went to PSG, Draxler didn't join because the board was too afraid to spend big on this highly rated youngster and Klose was basically the same deal, which meant Arsenal had to keep their faith with a half-whit striker who had 'other things on his mind' before one of the biggest games of his club's season.
The one signing they made, Kallstrom, what the fans did not know was that he had injured himself in a mid-season vacation with parent club, Spartak Moscow in Dubai playing beach football (this is true). This showed how desperate Wenger has become, but it also shows he has lost his knack for the modern day transfer negotiations process as it even took him the whole summer transfer window to spend cash on someone.
Wenger's contract runs out at the end of the season, but it is looking very likely that he will be given a new deal for another 2-3 years.
Three years looked a certainty at first but after the recent run of results, rumours have it that now even the board are starting to lose faith in the current longest serving EPL manager (not including Sir Alex Ferguson). Rumours have it that the board are only willing to give Wenger a two year contract maximum, perhaps even just a one year deal! Wenger is apparently not very happy about this and he has dismissed these rumours.
I think it his time to go, even if he wins the FA Cup, at least then he can leave the club on a happy note and it would hide the fact the gunners are now most likely for a finish outside of the top 4 for the first time in Wenger's tenure at the club as now Everton are just one point behind the gunners with a game in hand. A trophy will soften the blow a little, but it should not be enough for Wenger to keep his job.
Gunners fans have argued that if Wenger does in fact leave, then the club will turn out like the current Manchester United side (terrible). Wenger will have to be replaced at some point (some fans forget he has been at club nearly 17 years). There will be a transitional period like David Moyes and his Man United side at the moment, but the gunners will just have to whether the storm.
It will be better to replace Wenger sooner rather than later. The longer the club keep him, the more the club will go in decline i.e. players like Santi Cazorla and Laurent Koscielny and then no-one will be signed to replace these stars.
I believe the main candidates for the massive seat they will have to fill should be; Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and Robert Pires if the club want to look down the path of going for players who played under Wenger in the 'Invincibles' era like Man United have sort of done by bringing in Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs into their coaching set-up as they played under the Alex Ferguson scheme.
But for the candidates who were not involved with Arsenal at some point in their playing careers, my choices would be; Jurgen Klopp (Borussia Dortmund manager), Roberto Martínez (Everton manager) and Joachim Löw (Germany manager).
Klopp has transformed Dortmund from a team that nearly fell completely off the map to one of the most feared sides in Europe and he has hinted at in the past about wanting to manage Arsenal at some point in his career.
Martínez has done wonders in his managerial career such as getting then, small club, Swansea City from League One to the Championship, then going onto tackle the big clubs with the smaller club Wigan Athletic in the EPL keeping them up for three years before his last season where the job became impossible. Now he is at Everton and he has made the fans believe in top 4/European football once again. In my opinion, he should be managing an even bigger side than Arsenal like Barcelona or Real Madrid. He would be a brilliant appointment and it would get the board back in the fan's good books.
Löw has been manager of the Germany national side since 2006 and he has completely changed the outlook of the Germany side as he got rid of the older players like Kahn and Ballack and replaced them with players like ter Stegen and Özil. He has revolutionised the way Germany now looks at its selection process and there was never a 'transitional period' either, his Germany team is second in the FIFA world rankings and are one of the favourites to win the magical Copa Mundial trophy this summer.
Whoever takes over for Wenger have big shoes to fill, they will know that. The man that comes in will have to have a drive for the club, he will need to do anything he will need to, to deliver success to this prestigious club.
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