“A catalyst for change” is what Arsenal want to see if Arsene Wenger remains in charge beyond this season.
[ MORE: Arsenal stuck in state of flux ]
Arsenal’s CEO Ivan Gazidis met with a fans’ forum before the draw with Manchester City on Sunday and some of the discussion has started to leak out.
Several outlets in the UK are reporting that Gazidis confirmed the decision on Wenger’s future will be mutual between the Frenchman and the board,a “thorough review” would take place, that no contract extension has been signed and that if he remains at Arsenal for longer than his 21st season in charge then Wenger must be a “catalyst for change” and embrace a new direction for the club.
That last point may be particularly tough to handle for Wenger as he has always done things his own way and up until this point it has always garnered results with 20-straight campaigns of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League.
Yet, with Arsenal seven points of the top four with 10 games remaining (they do have a game in hand on fourth-place Man City) it looks as though Wenger’s incredible streak of delivering top four finishes is about to end. There is also the very real possibility that Gazidis, chairman Sir Chips Keswick and other key directors may opt to move on without 67-year-old Wenger if the Gunners don’t finish in the top four.
What could change if Wenger does stay at Arsenal?
One suggestion is that a director of football may be brought in to help Wenger oversee the day-to-day running of the club and although many fans state that the club haven’t spent enough money in the transfer window in recent years Gazidis and Co. will point towards the acquisitions of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi, the latter two arriving last summer for a total of almost $140 million.
It’s clear things need freshening up at Arsenal, not just with the playing squad, as Ozil and Sanchez have yet to open contract talks, plus many other first teamers only have deals until the summer of 2018.
Times they are a changin’ and probably for the better.
Even if the protests against Wenger seemed somewhat halfhearted by fans in Arsenal’s draw with City, it seems like the board is being a lot more serious about pushing the Frenchman in a certain direction.