Arsene Wenger - How much longer does he have left?

by Simon Lillicrap / 01 February 2017, 15:44

A defeat for Arsenal at home to Watford prompted the #WengerOut brigade to find their voice over social media (and ArsenalFanTV) again. But, do these frustrated fans have a point, and how much longer does the Premier League's (current) longest-serving manager have left in the Gunners dugout?

The Frenchman’s contract is up in the summer and former player Ray Parlour has said he could simply walk away if he feels he has failed this season. But, what counts as failure for Arsenal these days?

Arsenal are obsessed with finishing in the top four. Wenger has delivered this for 20 consecutive years now. However, being in the Champions League is pointless for a club like Arsenal unless you make inroads into the latter stages. They have gone out at the round-of-16 stage every season since 2010/11 and they look likely to exit at that stage this year as they (once again) face Bayern Munich.

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In the Premier LeagueArsenal last won the title in 2003/04, with 'The Invincibles', but since then have become more accustomed to 3rd or 4th place. In fact, since that title win they have finished 2nd just twice, once in 2004/05 and then last season when they pipped rivals Tottenham to 2nd spot.

In this time, Arsenal have achieved great things off the pitch, building a new stadium whilst continuing to keep the books balanced, and a large part of this success is down to Arsene Wenger. He kept the revenues coming in from the Champions League despite players such as Cesc Fabregas, Robin Van Persie and Samir Nasri being sold to major rivals.

Since paying off the stadium, Arsenal have been playing catch up. Big signings such as Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil got Arsenal fans excited that they would take them to the next level, but it just has not materialised. If they sell one of those players before they bring in another big name, such as Antoine Greizmann, the club will not progress.

Wenger has delivered recent silverware. Two consecutive FA Cup’s ended their trophy drought and appeased the fans, but they want one of the big ones: the Premier League or the Champions League. Arsenal currently lie nine points off leaders Chelsea, but last night was a big chance to close the gap and one they failed to take, leading to huge anger amongst fans.

This could be Wenger's last season in charge and what he has done for the club cannot be underestimated. Arsenal may look to other managers, such as Diego Simeone, to help them challenge for the title, but whatever happens Wenger will remain a huge part of the club’s history.

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