The pressure on Arsene Wenger to resign as manager of Arsenal has been gaining momentum despite rumours he will soon announce a two year extension on his contract.
The atmosphere among Arsenal fans is growing toxic and some disgruntled Gooners protested by hiring a plane flying a banner during the defeat at West Brom on Saturday. It’s 13 years since Wenger won the league title and Arsenal’s humiliating exit from the Champions League at the brutal hands of Bayern Munich was the tipping point for many who have been sitting on the fence until now.
Arsenal are still in the FA Cup with a semi-final clash against Manchester City to look forward to and Wenger refuses to write off hopes of finishing in a Champions League place after dropping out of the top four following a poor run of results. With contract talks between Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil hanging in the air, the situation is not conducive to a club looking to turn around its fortunes in the last two months of the season.
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Patrick Vieira is the latest name to make the frame as a potential replacement for Wenger. The former Arsenal midfielder is managing New York City in the MLS and is revered in North London for his leadership qualities on and off the pitch. The 6ft 4in Frenchman coached Manchester City’s Elite Development Squad before being given the role in the Big Apple. Ignored by Arsenal at the end of his playing days, Vieira has been accumulating accolades in his new role which could ignite interest from his former club.
Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri is the leading candidate to takeover if Wenger does move on at the end of this season. The Italian tactician has enjoyed great success at Juventus and AC Milan previously but his style of football may not sit well with Arsenal supporters. Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel and Monaco’s Leonardo Jardim have also been linked with the job at the Emirates while Bournemouth City manager Eddie Howe is seen as a good fit for the Gunners.
The Arsenal board don’t appear to be want to force the issue and Wenger may have the last word about when he goes and possibly, who will replace him. The 67-year-old is Arsenal’s longest serving manager with 20 years at the helm and remains defiant amidst the anger and abuse currently flying his way. He is quoted in the Mirror online: “Today we live in a period where people are very demanding and I can understand that but I know as well that I have guided this club through very difficult periods with very, very, very limited resources.
“I managed to always get the best out of the team and that’s what I will do as long as I am at Arsenal Football Club.
“At the moment we are going through a difficult period on the results and so I think it’s much more important to focus to get it right again.”
Wenger wants fans to wait until the end of the season to make a full judgement which could well be the time he decides to move upstairs and hand over playing matters to someone new.