Arsenal are coming into one of the most delicate parts of their history, if they get it wrong, they will struggle to make it back.
Arsene Wenger recently confirmed his desire to carry on at Arsenal as quoted by the Mirror.
“There’s 18 months left, that’s an eternity. I’m committed to this club.
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“I’m completely focused on doing well. I want to give absolutely everything until the end," he said.
18 months might seem like a long way away, but this isn't time for the Arsenal board to get cosy. The plans should be in place for when their leader exits.
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To understand what a critical period the Gunners are entering, you have to start by looking at how others have dealt with a similar situation.
A good place to start would be the collapse of Liverpool in the modern era.
Picking up league titles and European Cups became routine for the Reds in the 70's and 80's. Bob Paisley lifted six league titles and three European Cups in that time.
Joe Fagan came in and reproduced similar success completing the treble in his first season. The Heysel Tragedy followed and Fagan retired soon after, leaving Kenny Dalgish to take up the reigns.
The Liverpool legend continued the remarkable success with another three league titles, but once again tragedy interrupted their achievements with the Hillsborough disaster and Dalgish stepped down.
Since then, the Merseyside club struggled to recover. Rafael Benitez came in and won an inconceivable 5th European trophy. Nevertheless, the league title has eluded the Reds for 26 years.
The main problem though, was the board got it wrong on multiple occasions and continued to hire incapable managers.
It started with the likes of Graeme Souness and Gerard Houllier and more recently Roy Hodgson and Brendan Rodgers.
While Hodgson had experience, he turned a club who finished second two years prior to his appointment, into the relegation zone after six matches.
Of course that wasn't the only problem at the time, but the club was too big for him to handle. Their arch rivals made the same mistake.
Enter David Moyes. The guy seen as the ideal manager to take over from the legendary Ferguson.
The club, who had lifted 38 trophies under Ferguson, was entering its biggest transition in history, and left a guy in charge who hadn't lifted any silverware himself.
The Red Devils went from top to 7th in a year. Louis van Gaal came in and steadied the ship a year later, but now is struggling to end United's three-year barren trophy spell. Could they be about to follow Liverpool's 26-year drought?
The former Netherlands boss could be on the verge of the sack, and, if they don't decide to hire a top-class manager like Jose Mourinho, having already missed out on Pep Guardiola, you wouldn't bet against them following Liverpool's path.
Now it's Arsenal's turn to go through potentially their most difficult period in their history. Make the same mistakes as Liverpool and Manchester United, and Wenger's steadied ship could sink.
Carlo Ancelotti has already gone to Bayern Munich. A manager who has won three European cups, which the north London club have never delivered.
Another world-class manager Pep Guardiola has already agreed a move to Manchester City. If Wenger steps down this summer, who are they going to hire?
Mauricio Pochettino could guide Tottenham to a Champions League place this season. Liverpool have one of the best managers in world football in Jurgen Klopp to bring back the glory days.
The Gunners are going to be left behind if they're not careful. They're already charging ridiculous stadium prices to balance the books, how will they cope if they miss out on Champions League football?
Liverpool didn't cope well when Rafael Benitez left. Splashing crazy money on average players like Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Mario Balotelli to name a few.
Two clubs who panicked when they realised they picked the wrong managers to take charge.
While Arsenal supporters will be frustrated with the lack of major honours Wenger has brought to the club in recent times, if he leaves and there isn't a suitable candidate to take over, Europa League and mid-table finishes will become the norm.
Learn from others mistakes and the platform that Wenger has left can be used to great success, if there isn't a plan for when he leaves, expect very difficult times ahead.
Arsenal fans: Who would you like to see replace Arsene Wenger? Have YOUR say in the comment box below!
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