New York Times journalist Rory Smith believes Arsène Wenger was “frightened” to leave his job at Arsenal in the summer and can’t imagine a life without the Gunners.

Appearing on BBC Radio Five Live alongside Ian Wright, after Arsenal’s 4-0 defeat to Liverpool at the weekend, Smith had the following to say about the Arsenal boss: “I feel sorry for him because I think Wenger feels frightened to walk away,” reports the Express.

“I think he’s frightened of what life without football is like. Speak to people who know Wenger, he can’t function without football. This is the core of his life. He won’t quit for fear of what happens without Arsenal.”

Given that he’s been at Arsenal since 1996, it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that Wenger has an attachment to football and the club. His father was the manager of a local village team so he’s been involved in football and management, in some sense, for almost his entire life.

Sections of the Gunners’ fanbase have routinely called for the Frenchman to leave, in particular as each passing year goes by without a Premier League title. Arsenal have won three FA Cups in four years, but the club have never returned to the same heights in the league as they reached in the first few years under Wenger..

But he remains, and until the day the 67-year-old does retire it’s impossible to say whether it’s really true that he “can’t function without football”. Earlier this year, he suggested that if he didn’t sign a new deal with Arsenal he still planned to stay in management in some way or another.

So maybe we’ll never know.