Should Arsene Wenger finally turn his back on Arsenal?

After recovering from a nightmare start to the season, Gunners manager is 'relaxed' on new deal.

Arsene Wenger is entitled to feel more than a little aggrieved at his treatment by sections of the Arsenal support this season.

It seemed highly likely, after his side were beaten 3-1 at home by Aston Villa on the opening day of the season that Wenger’s days as Arsenal manager were coming to an end.

The reaction from certain quarters to that defeat verged on the hysterical. Indeed, the Arsenal Supporters Trust claimed it was ‘innopropriate’ for the board to enter into negotiations with the Frenchman over the possibility of a new contract.

It was to his enormous credit that Wenger never wavered in his belief that not only would Arsenal respond to that defeat, but they would still be able to attract players of genuine world-class quality which would add strength to the side.

It is worth revisiting Wenger’s words on the opening day.

“I believe that our season will depend on how we respond to this defeat,” he said.

Correct – Arsenal won their next seven games. They have lost just once in the league since that day, a narrow defeat to champions Manchester United.

“I still believe Arsenal is an attractive proposition for players all over the world.”

Correct – 16 days after losing to Aston Villa, Arsenal signed Germany international Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid for a club record £42.5 million deal.

And he bolstered his midfield with the canny re-signing of Mathieu Flamini.

Undoubtedly, Arsenal were in a difficult position at the start of the season, having laboured in the transfer market, suffered defeat to Villa and lost a number of players to injury, including key figures such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

But will the sheer vitriol aimed in his direction, the utter abuse Wenger was subjected to in August, influence his decision to sign a new contract? It has been offered to him, but has he finally had enough?

His current deal expires in six months, and Wenger is, for the moment, is indifferent.

“I said many times, that people don't need to question my commitment to this club. I can just reiterate what I said at the start of the season - I want to feel that I do well, and focus on that,” said Wenger. “I am relaxed about the situation. What is important is that the players have the support, to focus on the target which is to do well in every single game.”

Clearly, Wenger is not dashing to sign on the dotted line, and while there is no immediate suggestion that he is set to leave the club at which he has spent the last 18 years, will he be tempted to put an end to the constant stress which seems to get worse every year?

He could hardly be blamed for doing so. Perhaps the perfect answer to the constant doubting of his ability would be to win the Premier League this season, and then bow out at the top of his game.

As the saying goes: ‘you only appreciate what you’ve got when it’s gone’. Were Wenger to depart next summer, those fans who continually mock him may be left to ponder what they have lost.

images: © Matt and Kim Rudge, © wonker

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