Fans have grown increasingly vocal at their hope the club will move on from Wenger, who has been with Arsenal since 1996. Banners have been displayed – and even flown – calling for his removal in recent weeks.
The discontent has grown thanks to a growing crisis, both on and off the field. The club has lost six of its last nine games, including embarrassing defeats to lesser clubs and by large scorelines. Off the pitch, there are loud rumors that big players are pushing for large contracts the club is unwilling to dish out.
Despite all this, Wenger – whose contract expires this summer and was reportedly undecided on his own position regarding his future – has apparently come to the conclusion that he is hoping to stay, and will work with the club if they decide to offer him an extension. That’s a big if, although the team may decide that stability and experience is the best way forward.
Two players, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, have both shown signs of unhappiness in recent weeks, and the papers have followed that up with reports of their discontent behind closed doors. Sanchez’s body language on the field has been that of an exasperated figure, and there are rumors that he is looking for a mega-contract. Ozil has also reportedly asked for a large wage increase to keep him satisfied, and with the club reportedly unwilling to give in, Ozil was left out of the squad in Saturday’s loss to West Brom after complaining of hamstring discomfort in Friday’s training session, despite now being suddenly fit to join Germany’s squad for the international break.
Amid all this turmoil, it’s possible – and increasingly likely – that Arsenal could miss Champions League qualification for the first time in Wenger’s 20-year tenure. The club sits in sixth position, on 50 points, which is two back of Manchester United in fifth and six behind Liverpool in fourth. Despite that, it’s possible the club could stick by him. John Cross of the Mirror, who crafted their version of the Wenger story, posted on Twitter that he is “fully expecting Wenger to stay. Arsenal believe he’ll turn it round.” He also offered his personal thoughts on the mood in the locker room:
No matter the players’ opinions, one half of the requirements for a contract extension appear met. Now it’s up to the club to decide if he’s the best man to lead the club forward, and the sooner the decision is wrapped up, the better for everyone at the club.