According to Martin Keown, Arsene Wenger will leave Arsenal when he’s good and ready, and not a minute before.
Towards the tail end of this season, pressure has been mounting for Arsene Wenger to leave the club that he’s spent 20 years building. Even the biggest fans of Le Professeur are now changing their minds and although many don’t want him hounded out of the club, they do believe it’s time to say goodbye.
Speaking recently, however, Arsenal legend, Keown, revealed that he doesn’t believe the boss will go just yet. The board won’t sack him and he will see out the final year of his contract in north London.
“Arsene Wenger decides when he leaves Arsenal,” Keown said.
“The topic of Wenger comes up all the time and I think we should allow the great man to decide when he goes. He’s got one year left on his contract. You can be certain that he’ll be all out to make sure that in his last year he’s going to be successful – and I wouldn’t bet against him signing a new deal.
“If Wenger does sign a new contract, then succession planning has to begin. Steve Bould is either nurtured into the role, or they identify who would be the next person to take over.
“What I think Arsenal will do is only look for a replacement when Wenger wants to go. They won’t tap him on the shoulder and say ‘We’re bringing in Simeone’. Wenger is 66 and doesn’t seem like an old 66. Most players don’t get much beyond the age of 30 but there isn’t a set age for a manager to be past their best. Just look at what you’re seeing. I don’t see any less desire in Wenger – if anything I see more desire than when he first arrived when you see him on the touchline.”
After managing Arsenal, it’s likely that Wenger will ‘move upstairs’. The likelihood of him finding another club is slim, not because of his quality as a manager but probably through personal choice. He’s always been a company man for the brand that is Arsenal Football Club and it’s doubtful that this will change.
However, it will be sad if we’re metaphorically waiting at the back door to usher him out.