The Beginning Of Another Contract Saga
By Will Jones
Surprise, surprise, the board want Arsene to stick around
Has it just been a slow week for the sporting press or is there a little more to be read into the speculation over Arsene Wenger’s new contract?
Whether you’re an AKB or and AMG it is quite obvious that AW is currently instrumental in the running of Arsenal Football Club. His philosophy both on and off the pitch and in the transfer market in times of success and not, have shaped the way the club operate. What Wenger has done is help to create a solid foundation, possibly for future glory.
Arsene has been under pressure from the fans for a good few years now and the man who saw his best players leave in more than one consecutive season has found solace from the board and some fans by consistently finishing within the top four. It is for that reason he is an owner’s dream. If the board really are only driven by profit then it is obvious that the board would have to be insane to let Wenger run out his contract. Kroenke and Gazidis et al must be privately lathering the Frenchman in praise and adulation for what he has done for their pay packets in the past few seasons. Wenger’s conversions of young talent into international superstars are to the board his key strength. Buy players cheap; sell them for profit, simples. However with the board’s apparent agenda this transforms his strength into a weakness for the squad when great players leave.
Currently the board shouldn’t offer Wenger a new contract because if they do a severe backlash from the fans could come their way. From the board’s point of view Wenger is doing a sterling job and will probably continue to do so, but what the fans want to see is success not sustainability. What the board should do is wait. If Arsenal builds on their good start to the season, therefore winning a few votes from the fans, this is when the board will have a window with the fans’ blessing to offer Wenger a new contract.
Gazidis this week showed his increasingly frustrating diplomatic side in his comments regarding Wenger’s contract and bought himself and the board a little time for both parties to discuss terms. He declared Wenger “the best man for the job” but I sincerely hope that isn’t mere PR talk to quell the rabble of the trophy hungry masses to keep the boardroom’s fat cats pockets lined once more. He also left the door open for Wenger by conceding that Wenger will play a part in deciding who will take the reins from him in the long term should he pass up a new contract (“and I don't want to give any indication that this is happening” – well covered Ivan, nice). How nice of you Ivan to allow Mr. Wenger to inform you of how to do your job. Yet more evidence that it is indeed Wenger who is making key decisions in the running of the club not the board. In reality the issue should depend on the position of the club nearer the end of the current contract. If we actually win or genuinely challenge throughout the coming season for a major honour then maybe Wenger should get even more time to build on his foundation.
When asked about his contract in the press conference before our game against Southampton Wenger issued the typically cagey and vague responses which we are so used to from Le Boss. However this time he almost seemed to play the role of wantaway striker playing a little bit of hardball rather than that of visionary manager. He said he was an “Arsenal man”, “I’m focused on Southampton” and that he’d “always shown commitment.” Wenger also cited his age in the press conference as a determiner in his decision; I think that might be a first. Out of all Wenger’s belittling excuses over the years that’s a card he has kept up his sleeve until now. Has the man who has preached and prayed for faith in himself and the club finally walked in to the last chance saloon? Or is he stronger and more determined than ever? From his decision making of recent years in terms of departures, signings and statements about current players which are quite frankly bizarre I think Arsene is about to step through those swinging doors and sign his own death wish underlining a distinguished career.
On one side of the coin you can suggest that if Wenger left, the board could make a real statement of intent to bring on future glories with a new manager upon Wenger’s foundation; but the flip side rages that the board simply cannot afford to lose their biggest asset in someone who is so fundamental to the club. Whether you like it or not, whether you like Wenger or not, this is Wenger’s Arsenal and will continue to be Wenger’s Arsenal with or without Wenger at the helm.
14th September 2012
User Comment and Reaction
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maguiresbridge gooner 19:03pm 14th Sep 2012
Yes Will we have known for some time that arsene wenger runs this football club nobody else.He's an owners and a boardroom dream alright and not only are they praising him privately but doing it in public as well in between checking their bank statements.It's no surprise they want to keep him signed up all that lovely profit it's not for the success where it matters on the pitch.I agree Will no new contract should be forthcoming just yet not until the fans get what they deserve and thats success on the pitch with a team capable of challenging for silverware and even winning it and if that dosen't happen this season let alone next that backlash you talk about could be on it's way and as you say the board know it and i suspect so does wenger. - Post No. 28882
Stevesam 20:36pm 14th Sep 2012
AW did not make the same mistake this time and say "Judge me in May " Perhaps he is getting more mellow as he grows old. - Post No. 28883
Dylan M 21:32pm 14th Sep 2012
He said that the last contract that he signed was gonna be his last and even went on to name his successor. So I cant see this rumour going any further - Post No. 28885
Wombledin 21:34pm 14th Sep 2012
"He declared Wenger “the best man for the job” but I sincerely hope that isn’t mere PR talk to quell the rabble of the trophy hungry masses to keep the boardroom’s fat cats pockets lined once more." Of course it is! Don't be so naive. This has been his job since Kroenke and Gazidis took over and it will remain that way forever under Wenger. He is their perfect cashcow bitch. Success is a top four finish for our Club, period. Cups and winners medals?, pah, sentimental tosh. And Wenger has the perfect excuse to keep getting away with it, ie, Citeh & Chel$ea = "we can't compete without FFP." The perfect excuse to keep under investing in the squad and squeaking into the top four each season. AFC stands for "American's Football Cashcow". - Post No. 28886
the_drizzle 0:16am 15th Sep 2012
"What the fans want to see is success, not sustainability"... What??? It really does take an Arsenal fan to utter something that naive. Your analysis of Arsene's role in the club is incredibly peewee and takes no account of the external forces that have skewed the financial markets. He does everything just the same as he did during the glory era, the only difference is that now there's enough oil money in football to double the wages of any Arsenal player that has a breakthrough season. In fact its gotten so bad that even Manchester United is advocating FFP, but you just skipped right over that minor detail and blamed it on greedy Wenger. And besides, have you been following the new coaches this season? Since Arsene Wenger isnt qualified to nominate a new coach, maybe you can start by giving us all one name that isnt Pep Guardiola. - Post No. 28887
Joe S. 8:39am 15th Sep 2012
Hope Wegner is smart enough to know when to quit. He must realise that under this administration his bank account may be bulging while at the same time the legacy he leaves behind as a football manager is one of diminishing returns. - Post No. 28888
Highbury Boy 11:55am 15th Sep 2012
"What the fans want ........". Not so long ago (in the days of Fizsman and Dein) the dreams and ambitions of the fans and owners were the same. The Board would go the extra mile and splash out on a Malcolm Macdonald, a Charlie Nicholas or in Dein's case buy Platt and Bergkamp. Selling out "the franchise" to a US guy who knows nothing about soccer but is told the investment sits nicely with his other sporting franchises means the dream has gone. Silent Stan looks at the bottom line for he has been told that the share price will rise (as indeed it has) if the soccer team stays in the Europe elite and Wenger manages the player trades. Wenger won't/can't change and over the years when a relatively slight gamble on say a midfielder to replace Gilberto or Flamini or buying an experienced gk or centre-back might have brought us a title he hides behind the excuse of "not wanting to bankrupt the club" only spending in a last minute frenzy last season after the 8-2 debacle. Gazidis is a hired hand (an expensive one on £1m pa) Wenger is on £7m pa plus and Stan draws out big directors fees.Don't expect any changes any time soon as the current situation suits all 3 senior figures very well. In fact they will be laughing all the way to their banks if the sponsorship deals renewable in 2014 prove really successful. At that point Stan may engineer a take-over that even he (with a reputation of never being a seller) will find difficult to refuse and my hope will be that the new owner will be truly ambitious for the success of the club,putting cash into the team and hiring a manager not afraid to take a risk to come first. - Post No. 28890
Rob 12:14pm 15th Sep 2012
The only quibble I'd raise with that is that the fans do want both success and sustainability. We've had the latter - or concepts of it - bashed over our heads continuously for the last 7 years. But none of the former. Resolving that imbalance is the nub of the problem. But the doubters - of whom I am one - need to brace themselves. Wenger will sign another extension whether we like it or not. He's now 62 and that will take him past 65. After that I really think he will go, regardless of results. But I don't expect that to happen until 2017 or there abouts. That could mean a dozen trophy-less years. Like I said, brace yourselves !! - Post No. 28891
fozzy's mate 13:51pm 15th Sep 2012
Gazidis naked cynicism takes some topping. Every window throw rumours around and this year sign 3 decent players only to end each summer with a juicy profit as the cash at bank mountain grows. Then mobilise the likes of the old etonian fart/fool/imbecile to slate the fans and declare OGL as the greatest human being to walk the earth. In his one substantive interview the DDT spoke of loving him because he extracts value. This week MR SS spoke of financial efficiency. The ship will role on on smooth seas for the board but choppy turmoil for the fans. What we all know now is that the much heralded increase in commercial income will no change our transfer policy at all. We have somewhere around 120 million in the bank yet still make a profit in the transfer market year on year. No manager would do better given this policy and we will never know if OGL chooses not to spend to avoid the pressure piling on to this shoulders. We are not prepared to try to bridge the gap so the status quo will remain until Wenger is carried out in a box and Kroenke and Gazidis no longer run the business. Until then we will hover in and around 4th place, reach the knockout stages of the champs league before being knocked out by the 1st half decent team we play and sacrifice the domestic cups. In short we will remain a financially efficient operation that extracts value but wins no silverware. The club and manager have redefined what success is at a big club and judge achievements on that basis. An accounting firm stands where a trophy winning football club once did. - Post No. 28892
Sha 19:40pm 15th Sep 2012
I hope Wenger will stay for at least another 10-15 years. There's no doubt he is the best manager in England an if he leaves we're screwed :( - Post No. 28894
CanadaGooner 19:45pm 15th Sep 2012
Mixed feelings as far as Arsene goes these days. We need trophies (any trophy will do to start), but he only considers the league or champions league as worthwhile, that's been one of his key shortcomings, tied to arrogance ofcourse. We will have our first real test of the season next week away to Citeh and I believe the outcome of that match will underline our season. If we can nick a draw, then there is room for much optimism regarding this latest group of players. We could have beaten Southampton 10 - 0 and I still wouldnt care. It's an expected outcome, but one we struggled to achieve last season, so already, this season has shown a bit more promise. I can only hope Wenger approaches the league-cup and FA cup with less arrogance and try to win one of those, as the premiership or CL is still a huge ask for Arsenal right now. - Post No. 28895
Jack B 20:13pm 15th Sep 2012
Where are the haters tonight? I'm sure you will find some reason to want Wenger out after today! - Post No. 28896
fozzy's mate 8:28am 16th Sep 2012
Jack B - typical snap comment after hammering a dire team. Some want OGL out because of 7 seasons without a trophy. Personally I don't think yesterdays result means anything either way. I agree with Canada gooner (incredibly) that if we avoid defeat v city and chelsea we can be more optimistic. Me I just want to see the cash mountain reduce. I don't think anyone will do as well as Wenger while making a transfer profit. - Post No. 28897
Highbury Boy 11:09am 16th Sep 2012
Bit of a silly comment Jack B. Were you actually at the Emirates against a pretty poor side who unlike Sunderland tried to actually attack? Have you watched all this season's games against teams who have yet to win a match and will be most unlikely to finish in the Top 8. The reason for wanting a change in owner/manager policy is ,as stated by Fozzy's mate and others, is a lack of ambition to win a top trophy. This has been demonstrated over 7 years. Don't make a judgement based on one or even 4 matches. - Post No. 28898
Mandy Dodd 11:18am 16th Sep 2012
Wenger will do what he always does - see out his contract, and make a decision on renewing near the end of it. Many on here are correct, the board will clearly want to keep him, but this will be Wengers decision. From quotes taken a year or so ago - I am not sure he will renew - guess we will just have to wait and see how he does in the next couple of years. - Post No. 28899
Eddie the Pidgeon 13:13pm 16th Sep 2012
So Jack B yesterdays result erases the last 7 years of trophyless hurt.Some Gooners are easily pleased. - Post No. 28900
goonercolesyboy 13:16pm 16th Sep 2012
I really enjoyed yesterday's game and yes Southampton were nothing much but the win was emphatic and showed glimpses of when we used to smash teams in the first half and then relax. Santi is one helluva a player and with RVP leaving it has freed up the others to perform for themselves and the team and not for one man. Agreed that the 2 games are the benchmark for what we can achieve and looking at the bench and the players still out injured then the FA cup and Capital cup might be attainable... As for Wenger, he is still with us so our discussion of his contract talks are redundant right now, however Guardiola would be the main man with Steve Bould as number 2 and Arsene upstairs, that's my opinion for what it is worth. - Post No. 28901
maguiresbridge gooner 13:19pm 16th Sep 2012
Good shout canada more emphasis is needed on the LC and FAC if just to get of the mark and stop the rot but as we know his holy grail in more important. - Post No. 28902
Gare Kekeke 14:27pm 16th Sep 2012
I agree with what a few are saying here, we should target winning either of the domestic cups to create a winning mentality that our squad has badly lacked for some time. That’s why in my view, the collapse to the Brummie Bluenoses in February 2011 still hurts. A good performance (because we really didn’t play well that day) combined with a win would have given the players such a lift and spurred them onto bigger things. But there’s a problem here fellow Gooners, Wenger went on record a few months ago stating that there is no value in winning them, which for a man of his supposed intelligence and given what he has achieved for us the club since his arrival in 1996 I find staggering. And his views could be backed up with our record in both cups since 2005. If winning the domestic cups was good enough for Ferguson & Mourinho in the past, then it shouldn’t be beneath Wenger either. Up The Arsenal! - Post No. 28904
Graham 17:03pm 16th Sep 2012
What does my head is we dont even try to win the CC and FA cup.If we put stronger teams out instead of a team of kids and the likes of Chamakh and Arshavin will would have a chance to end the trophy drought.But Wenger just doesnt take them seriously - Post No. 28905
Au Revior Wenger 19:46pm 16th Sep 2012
Unless Wenger changes his attitude to the domestic trophies the trophyless seasons will rise to 8.What i cant understand pre 2005 he used to love the FA cup.If he signs another contract i can see us going over 10 years without a trophy and what will that do to Wengers legacy.Oh sorry Ivan he made us profits and thats what his legacy will be - Post No. 28906
Jack B 10:04am 17th Sep 2012
How typical, the anti-arsenal brigade come out in your minority force once again! I was at the game, as I go to every home game, and what is becoming more clear is that the negative minority are becoming a smaller and smaller voice. Im not going to boter engaging with you about 7 trophyless seasons as you dont have the acumen to understand what AW has had to do in that time, you dont seem to understand that to move stadium is a huge undertaking and how we have maintained champs lege football for 15yrs is a minor miracle! - Post No. 28915
Fozzy's mate 18:27pm 17th Sep 2012
Jack B - I do understand OGL's restrictions but what I don't understand in the need for the cash mountain. If OGL has had his hands tied nobody would have done better or as well. What I want to see is the mountain spent to some degree not built higher year on year. If the building continues, to what end other than dough trousering? - Post No. 28935
seydlitz 13:25pm 18th Sep 2012
Arsenal supporters who doubt that wenger should not continou as the manager have not fully appreciated the great change in all aspects he brought about in the structure and running of the club.The style of play, the youth policy, the construction of stadium, and most of all the standing of arsenal in the european world.Teams in europe now fear playing arsenal,ask any other club supporter and they will think you are mad to want to get him removed.I have never seen or heard from wengers doubters any name or individual who they will name that would or could do a better job. - Post No. 28947
9th December 2013
Online Ed: Spoils shared at home to Everton