According to reports, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is holding off contract talks with the club until the end of the season, amid speculation that his future is in doubt.
The Gunners currently sit uncomfortably in 10th place in the Premier League table, on the back of a dismal home defeat to Swansea City last weekend.
The manager has been under increasing pressure in recent weeks and months, as his side still search for that elusive trophy.
The Frenchman’s current contract expires in the summer 2014 and although the club are keen for him to stay on, despite his advancing years, the 63-year-old manager will wait until the end of the season to decide his own future.
Could the stalling of negotiations be an indication that the Gunners manager may call it a day? I wouldn’t place any bets on his departure just yet – I’m more inclined to suggest he’ll want to wait to see whether they finish inside the top four in the league this season to make his decision.
Whilst the bookmakers odds put former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola as the favourite to replace the Frenchman, I can’t see Wenger bowing out before summer 2014 – for all his faults, he’s a man of integrity who loves the club and I think he’ll fulfill his obligations.
Synonymously, I can’t see the club giving him the boot – all official statements point to the contrary, the board, the chairman, and the chief executive all back him and feel that he’s the man to take the club forward, despite having fallen considerably from their perch in recent years.
For that reason, I can’t see Guardiola coming in – he’ll be snapped up by someone else in the next season and a half most likely – perhaps Chelsea, PSG or AC Milan. If he’s still unemployed by this time next year, I will be very surprised.
For the time being, I think the current Arsenal manager is right to hold off the talks – I think he’d prefer to assess the situation come May and, in the meantime, focus all his energy on dragging the club back into top-four contention.
Is Wenger right to hold off? Could he be off if the club finish outside the top four?
image: © Matt and Kim Rudge