Ivan Gazidis has potentially set the cat amongst the pigeons by claiming that the board want Arsene Wenger past when his existing contract runs out.
Although the Arsenal chairman didn’t refer to Wenger’s contract, which runs out next season, directly, he did say that leaving would be on the manager’s terms and that they want him there long term. He definitely made it sound as if the boss would be in charge for the foreseeable future, insinuating that he would be offered a new contract.
“There is not nostalgia on either side,” Gazidis told the Telegraph.
“It’s not what motivates us or him. The reason we have Arsène as our manager is because our board believes he can deliver success. The reason that Arsène is here is because he believes that he can deliver success. If either of us didn’t believe that we would not be constrained by nostalgia or longing; we would have to make a change. Arsène would understand and support that. But it’s just not how either side feels. We feel we are on a good path.
“He’s in his mid-sixties, it’s natural to think about when his time here might come to an end, but the truth is nobody knows. He is in fantastic shape. He is deeply engaged and excited. One of the biggest challenges we will face is the transition, whenever it happens, but that is not something we are going to be facing imminently. Obviously, he is going to be managing us next year and we are planning and making many decisions for the long term.”
The news is going to go down like a lead balloon since fan disillusionment is probably at an all-time high. Despite the recent signing of Granit Xhaka, many still believe it’s time for change. Although some are open to being swayed by success, numerous people aren’t and there’s a reason why Gazidis hasn’t spoken about this before. Should he have even spoken now?
It’s too early to be practically yodelling about a new Wenger contract from the roof tops. Last season, despite our surprising end, wasn’t good enough and fans need to be shown a lot in order to once again trust the manager. Some never will.
Ultimately, the interview told us something we already know: Wenger leaves when Wenger wants.