First and foremost, the most obvious reason is that the Frenchman has not signed a new contract with less than three months left on his deal at the Emirates. Despite the fact the club expect him to stay on past June, it must be more than a little bit concerning that they have no more than an ‘understanding’ in place at present.
He is 64 years of age now and has been in charge at the club for 18 years making him the longest serving manager in the Premier League but it’s unusual for both the club and the manager to leave it so late in the day.
2) Players’ Contracts
Meanwhile, on the subject of contracts, the club have fixed in place deals for a number of their key players and future prospects in recent weeks and months at a rate unusual for the Gunners. Per Mertesacker, Tomas Rosicky, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey add to the list including Wojceich Szczesny, Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson, Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud and record signing Mesut Ozil who are fixed on long-term deals with only Bacary Sagna’s future a doubt.
The club’s present and future stars are all secured for the next few years which has not been the case in recent years, and the motivation to offer the likes of Ramsey, Cazorla, Mertesacker and Walcott such attractive deals suggests not only that the club are financially secure for the future, but also that the future is very much on somebody’s mind. If Wenger was planning to step down as manager, surely he would be keen to hand over the squad in the best possible shape to his successor?
Which leads me on to the financial health of the club. Wenger has led the Gunners through possibly the most progressive period in the club’s history, taking on the building project of the new stadium and guiding them safely through the necessary period of financial restriction that came as a consequence. But, crucially, the club are now out of that period and through to the other side – in that sense, his work is done. They have remained in the Champions League throughout that phase, which is an astonishing achievement all things considered and unheard of in the modern era.
The new sponsorship deals signed last year add to the financial security of the club. The Gunners now have the financial muscle to go out and buy a player of Ozil’s quality and then some, which has not been the case over the last decade.
Few managers could have steered a club with Arsenal’s reputation and expectation through a period of such transition financially. If Wenger handed over the reigns to someone else this summer, that manager could spend up to £100million if he wanted this summer and even repeat that process the following summer ensuring the club could compete on the pitch and the transfer market without restraint which is exactly the kind of position in which one would expect the man who made that possible to make that hand over.
5) Trophy Drought
It is no secret Arsenal have npt won a trophy in nine years but this term they remain in the running for the Premier League and are the favourites to win the FA Cup. If they win a trophy I think that would be Wenger’s ideal moment in which to retire, having brought back success, proven himself and leaving on a note he can be immensely proud of with the full support and admiration of the fans and the watching world, Sir Alex Ferguson-style. What better way to wave goodbye than on the top of the bus riding through the streets of North London parading all the way?