Lots of strong opinion and conversation still flooding the Arsenal web space. I think it’s interesting because the tone isn’t vitriolic, it’s measured and accepting that Wenger has hit his limit. It took the cautious and loyal majority way longer than it should of to get there, but hey, we’re there now. I don’t want to bang on this for too long, but we called this 8 years ago, were labelled crazies that lacked credibility, and look where we are? And not just us… so many fans hammered for calling it correctly. Anyway, who cares, feels like something might break, especially if something unspeakable happens this weekend.
Key for me is that Arsenal fans don’t let an inevitable victory against Spurs shift perception. Wenger is done. Beating Spurs would be great, but not enough to lift the shame of our terrible planning and our lack of progress under absolute optimal circumstances. If you can’t make hay now, and serious hay that impacts our growth in the league and Europe, then you’re never going to traverse what’s coming to the league from next season.
So this is what is on my mind now. What is Ivan thinking?
He’s a smart businessman. He’ll see many things. He’ll see his customers are not happy and he’ll feel that. He’s an emotional guy despite the public facade. He’ll see what’s going on at the club, he’s already chopped in new everything over the past few seasons because he knows what a shit show Wenger is. He’ll also see what’s coming. Ivan is a strategist to most things bar the bits he can’t control… the manager and his choices.
… but, he’s been able to coast up until now. Top 4 was always protected. Rich clubs allowed us to focus on money being the Arsenal issue when it was clear brains could and should be the focus of our betterment. Other clubs couldn’t compete with us. Wenger out was just for the fringe. Now though, it’s clear Wenger is being out manoeuvred by smaller smaller clubs, with weaker players by managers who have achieved this in record time. He’ll know that Klopp is a force, Pep is a force and Mourinho with money will make United better again. Don’t even mention the fact Leicester and Spurs are as good if not better than us already.
So he has a decision. Be the CEO who let a Clough moment happen under his watch, or be the man who cut it short before it got bad. History will already look back on this phase of Wenger as a massive mistake, the longest most self indulgent golden fuck off of all time. Question is, does Ivan want to go down in the history books as the guy who facilitated the malaise because he was weak? Does he want to be the guy who people refer to as a Wenger hire? Does he think his inaction will be written about in Arsenal books of the future as a positive?
We have an opportunity this summer to move a failing manager on. We have the chance to kick start summer with a man who has a short term plan to fix the squad balance, a long term strategy for dominance equipped with a vision that is of this era. The stars are aligned here, we need someone to pull the trigger and set the next chapter alight.
We can’t let Wenger loose with the cheque book. We need someone who knows what they’re doing and we need someone to protect the great players we already have. Because look, the squad is 80% there. It just needs some thought. Better balance. Better plan b options. Some fight injected in there. Someone to instil the belief Sanchez says is missing.
The decision to move Wenger on has been the right one for 5+. Ivan must know this, but does he have the nerve to fight Stan on it? Or does Stan have to see complete failure before he’ll do something good for the club? Or alternatively, it’d be great if Wenger could see this coming… and move himself on before the milk turns from sour to rancid.
A big summer for Ivan. Powerful rich men care about the narrative history writes them. Sporting history never dies. Great men hailed, the weak mocked. How does he want to be remembered?
I know how I would… hopefully he feels the same.