Former Arsenal defender and pundit, Martin Keown, has penned a heart-felt column on Arsene Wenger, his concern for his health and the Frenchman’s desire to go out as a winner.
Writing for the Daily Mail, Keown described how saddened it was during and after Arsenal’s 5-1 defeat to Bayern Munich on Tuesday night.
He highlighted the moment when Laurent Koscielny was sent off in the second half, admitting that it was unusual to not see the boss come storming out of the dugout.
“Seeing him on the touchline, it is like a watch that has stopped,” Keown wrote. “When Laurent Koscielny was sent off, he didn’t come flying out of his dug- out. It was as if it hadn’t dawned on him. I am becoming concerned for his health, it is painful to see. This club is his life.
“I don’t want this great man — I have called him my footballing father — to be like a boxer on the ropes taking more and more punishment until badly hurt. Nobody with Arsenal in their heart will want that.”
Keown went on to explain how he believes Wenger is waiting to go out on a high; as a winner, as he’s always been, despite what other managers, pundits and fans claim.
“None of us are worthy to tap him on the shoulder and convince him his time is up at Arsenal. He has to see it for himself,” the pundit continued.
“I’m pretty certain he does know it. But he wants to go out as a winner, as a champion. Football is his best friend. Maybe winning the FA Cup and finishing in the top four might achieve that.
“He has been the greatest manager in Arsenal’s history and he deserves to go without so much fury and recrimination.”
Despite it almost certainly being the right time for Wenger to go, when he does announce he’s leaving it’ll be an emotional day for not just fans but the hundreds of players who’ve worked under him, managers who’ve faced him and pundits who have spent their entire careers commentating on games he’s been in charge of.
Keown’s column is honest but incredibly warm and respectful. And exactly how most Arsenal fans feel.