So Stan Kroenke did what we knew he’d do and signed Wenger up to another two years.
Unbelievable when you consider what elite sport is all about. A complete non-starter however you want to look at it. Wenger reframed success to be the top 4, and even when he tanked at that, he’s managed to earn himself another deal with the club.
The big question this morning will be around who he had to move on to get his way.
There are three routes Wenger can take to make it look like he’s changing.
There are a number of the old guard who I suspect ‘could’ be in the running for the boot. Boro P is like ultimate BFF, so he’ll stay. However, I’d imagine Steve Rowley, Tony Colbert, and Gerry Peyton are worried this morning. All good for glue, but that’ll really hurt Wenger.
Steve Bould and Neil Banfield could also face the chop. Not sure many would miss Neil, because we don’t know much about him, but Steve moving on would not go down well.
This approach would be impactful, but you only know how bad these guys are because I can tell you. Which leads to a more palatable approach.
Wenger could give the whole club a lift by bringing in the players he’s left on the outside. Pires has been burning arse hairs with some creepy media sucking up, Martin Keown would do the GoT walk of shame to get a job. You have Lehmann, Thierry… but the ultimate signing of fan placation… PATRICK VIEIRA!
Bringing back a bit of the winning culture would look excellent from the outside, but ultimately, if they’re all put in the boot room, it’s of little to no use. This would be incredible PR spin from the club, and feels exactly the sort of pathetically cowardly move Stan K would ‘enforce.’
The final route, and an obvious one, is to move on failing stars. Yaya Sanogo and Santi shouldn’t be renewed this summer. The club should shift on Ozil, Chezzer, Ospina, Gibbs, Campbell, and Jack Wilshere. They should renew on Chamberlain, Ramsey, and Sanchez.
Then they have to go big on replacements. Well, as big as you can go with Europa League prestige. I know they’re working on names at the moment. A centre midfielder, a wideman, we’ve landed a left back already and I’d image we’ll go for a striker with more pedigree than the exciting Nigerian kid we look like landing from the Belgian league.
Overall, it’s fiercely disappointing we’ve opted to renew a failing managers contract. This is unique in world sport, and I see no upside. However, we have to pray that the club have some sort of plan in place to build influential thinkers around a manager who has lost his way in a most saddening way.
Regardless of what reporters keep on saying, it’s not a minority of fans who want Wenger gone. It’s the majority. If it were the minority, Wenger wouldn’t have dedicated pre and post match to slagging the fans off. Think what you want about the fan base in Asia and America, they don’t matter at jot on game day (myself included). The fans will turn on Wenger quicker than ever before, and I’d be incredibly surprised if he could last another poor season.
The FA Cup final showed he has one of the most talented squad’s in the league, he just doesn’t know how to use it. The best game in 8 years, in front of a packed Wembley doesn’t indicate to me he’s sussed it. It just tells me his players don’t respect him enough to go hard in every game.
But, it is what it is… let’s see if the least self-aware man in football can be honest about his failings. Let’s see if Gazidis, who has been humiliated in front of the world, can actually force through any of his plans.
… my guess, not a chance. More of the same. Stan will get what he deserves in the end, and sadly, so will Wenger.
Also, word to the fans revelling in this. What are you revelling in? More dross? Our best players leaving? Total stasis? Europa league? There isn’t an argument to be won in Wenger staying. You’re aligning yourself with one of the worst sports club owners on the planet. Honestly, if you’re into the new deal for Wenger, I struggle to see how you’re enjoying the game these days.
Anyway, we’ve recorded a post-FA Cup podcast where we talk about the win, the contract signing, and how we can cope.
It’s a longer one, but hopefully, you enjoy it.