With his tongue slightly in his cheek, Vincent Ralph considers what the new season holds for the Arsenal manager.
What is it called when déjà vu happens not once but numerous time, to such an extent that your present and your past are a hodgepodge of the same event played out by different men?
For want of a better phrase, let’s call it Arsenal Syndrome.
As the only manager of last year’s top four to still have his job, Arsene Wenger should be plotting to put these new (or returning) rivals in their place. Instead he is scratching around for reinforcements, like a shopper who began his search in Harrods before realising he may end up in Lidl.
I have predicted Arsenal will finish fourth, but what of Wenger? What does the coming campaign have in store for the boss who has managed to keep hold of his star-men and yet, so far at least, has failed to add the players who could turn them into champions once more?
There is the obvious: that he will make many a neutral smile with his touchline histrionics. (You have to admit it is funny when he gets angry – like that teacher whose exasperation only encourages the giggles).
He will rely too heavily on a man with the future at his feet but an injury almost invariably around the corner.
And he will oversee a side with much promise but one that, come March, will have little to play for but the invisible trophy given to those finishing fourth.
Perhaps I am being unfair and Wenger will prove me wrong. After all, opinion voiced so openly is easily shot down by a change to the scheduled programming.
Wenger will certainly hope so. But until he signs the players to finish the side he has been building for many a year, there is a sense of a project forever incomplete.
image: © Matt and Kim Rudge