Alan Smith thinks Arsène Wenger should’ve bowed out on a high after winning the FA Cup, rather than signing a new deal with the Gunners.
Wenger’s contract expired over the summer, leaving him free to walk away from the club if he so desired. However, after talks with owner Stan Kroenke, Arsenal decided to offer him a new two-year-deal, which the Frenchman accepted.
Smith thinks that was a mistake on Arsène’s part, explaining: “With an offer of a two-year contract he was thinking shall I or shan’t I? Obviously he signed it but as I said at the time, it would have been better if he had walked away to rapturous applause,” reports the Daily Star.
“As it is, we’re in a state of limbo where not many supporters expect Arsenal to be pulling up trees in the next two years – hopefully they will – and the atmosphere is funny.
“There’s a lack of strong leadership at the top of Arsenal. Stan Kroenke isn’t that engaged, not conversant with English football. He’s not passionate about the sport, as much as he might try to make you think he is. That’s creating instability around the club.”
It was certainly a risk by the 68-year-old to stay on. Arsenal weren’t performing well last season, despite the eventual FA Cup win, and with the apparent financial restrictions over the summer that wasn’t likely to change much this year.
Maybe Wenger thinks he can turn things round, but so far the Gunners are in roughly the same position as last season, only without Champions League football.
The Gunners boss said recently that he wants to win the Premier League again before leaving, but I’d guess that he’s running out of chances at this point, even if Stan Kroenke doesn’t seem particularly keen to move the manager on.
Whether the contract extension is looked back on as a mistake or not is largely dependent on whether Wenger achieves that title aim.