“I am committed. When I do something, I do it 100 percent.”
Arsene Wenger has confirmed that he will remain as Arsenal manager for the start of the club’s 2016/17 campaign; the Frenchman revealed that he was in ‘no doubt’ about being at the Emirates for the start of next season.
Wenger insists that he will be back to fight valiantly again next season as he enters the final year of his three-year contract with the club. Wenger’s long-term future at the club is scheduled to be reviewed next year but, it’s rumoured that should Arsenal not maintain a Premier League title challenge this season or next, Wenger would opt to bow out from his position.
“I have no doubt because I am committed.
“I’m always committed to give my best as long as I am at the club. I believe in life you should focus on what you’re appointed for and I’m appointed to perform and do the best for my club. That’s all I focus on.”
A dreadful sequence of results in February and March prompted unrest at The Emirates as the manager’s credentials were questioned by growing section of aggravated supporters. Fans began calling for change even before Wenger’s current deal expires at the end of next season; banners demanding the long-serving Frenchman to step down appeared, following exits from the FA Cup and the Champions League as well as poor Premier League form.
The Arsenal boss took particular offence when a section of supporters turned at a moment in the season when they were still in contention for the title:
“I think that the criticism during the season is not very welcome when you fight for the championship, especially after the game against Tottenham where we were a bit unlucky,”
“You have to live with that. I have my conscience. What is the most important is that I give my best every day, I work for the club I love and if I can share that love with the supporters it’s even better.”
During his remarkable 20-year period with Arsenal, Wenger won three Premier League titles in the early years of his reign, coupled with a record six FA Cups. An additional legacy lives through the move to the £390 million ‘Emirates Stadium’ and crucially, as we will soon discover, Wenger has never finished outside of the valuable Premier League’s top four places.
Fan frustration runs deep within the Emirates terraces however, as the 12-year wait for a Premier League title continues to grate on expectant Arsenal fans. Arsene Wenger is continually accused of making the same mistakes both on the pitch and in the transfer market, despite funds of around £75 million being available to the manager this summer.
“I don’t worry too much about all the rest, what people say. All the rest is judgments, opinions and that is linked with the beliefs from the last result or the last disappointment or the last happiness.
“In my job you focus on what is important and that’s to perform. My future is my future. I don’t master that more than you.”
How Did Arsenal Come To Be Cursed By Wenger?
If Arsenal were ever to move to replace Arsene Wenger, the influence of the clubs two largest shareholders would be critical to overseeing the Frenchman’s departure.
Stan Kroenke (left), American business entrepreneur and Russia’s richest man, Alisher Usmanov (right), (with a fortune estimated at $14.7 billion) are Arsenal’s two majority shareholders.
Crucially, as the the debate surrounding Wenger’s future at the club continues to rumble on, both parties are concrete in their support of the Arsenal manager – providing absolutely no reason for Wenger to feel like he is under the slightest bit of pressure.
Usmanov decided to reinforce his support of Wenger publicly this week. Although Usmanov boasts only 30 percent of Arsenal’s overall shares and could not single-handedly force Wenger’s departure, his stance is significant as it leaves those fans who do want change without a major club figure at which to target and lobby for their views.
Speaking with Russian television channel, Rossiya24, Usmanov controversially stated:
“The club must retain its major symbol and main asset – manager Arsène Wenger,”
“Failures have been haunting Arsenal for many years now. They cannot become the EPL [Premier League] champions.”
Usmanov seems to accept that Arsenal are incapable of winning the Premier League under Arsene Wenger’s reign and yet remains defiant that he is the best man for the job – for any Arsenal fan this is certainly a baffling paradox…
“I believe that Arsene Wenger is a great coach, and Arsenal has to give him the opportunity to plan the succession process and leave his legacy when he deems it necessary. It is very important for the football club to maintain the principles that were established by those people who created its victories.
“Arsenal needs Arsene Wenger.”
As for Stan Kroenke, his ‘strictly business’ relationship with Arsène Wenger looks to be far too cosy for the club’s good.
Kroenke recently made an appearance at a big gathering of sports minds in the USA to take part on a panel titled the Evolution of Ownership – yet another phrase that is likely to get an Arsenal fan’s blood boiling.
The brochure for the advertised event described how attendees would gain invaluable insights into, “a behind the scenes look into how owners, senior executives … make impactful decisions to continue to grow the sport and improve the bottomline”.
Kroenke seldom speaks publicly so his opinions were a rare example of the American’s thoughts about the Arsenal line in his rich collection of sports franchises. Speaking to an engaged audience, Stan Kroenke explains that he admires “rational thought” in club ownership:
“…they become real industries and real businesses. I have to have some reality involved. If you want to win championships then you would never get involved”.
Such a disinterest in league success from Arsenal majority shareholder will surely feel raw for fans of a team who were top of the Premier League table at the start of 2016, but are now 11 points off the summit.
Getting Too Cosy
The respective relationships between Kroenke, Usmanov and Wenger are far too comfortable.
Both businessmen/owners greatly admire the Arsene Wenger – after all, from a business perspective, he is the perfect manager; the Frenchman delivers a perfect model for any owner who maintains a focus on the business side performing.
Wenger feels the full force of any disharmony surrounding the red half of north London. #WengerOut trends on Twitter following every crushing defeat, yet there is scarcely a word aimed at the owners. The majority owners are present at the club’s AGMs, the one day of the year he is exposed to fan frustrations but other than that, Wenger is the noble scapegoat.
The manager is appreciative of the unwavering support of the club’s owners, the owners are appreciative of a manager who considers economics and whose work suits business ideals – the Arsenal equilibrium.