Kroenke and Wenger will leave Arsenal if they have any sense 
Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at 1:13PM
Arsenal Truth

And so it came to pass. For the first time in 21 years, Arsenal and Arsene Wenger have missed out on the top four and will no longer be participating in a competition they only genuinely competed for once throughout that entire period.

Wenger has lost the club £50m and isn’t a good enough manager to win the Europa League, so there is very little chance of Arsenal clawing back a substantial amount of that income.

As expected, power has been restored to the big Premier League clubs with Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea all improving considerably under new management, albeit still plenty of room for further growth. Despite finishing the season potless, Tottenham have been superb and Man Utd will have had a decent season if they manage to win the Europa League.

Wenger is finished as a manager and Arsenal are finished as a top four club for as long as he hangs around like a bad smell. Arsenal are in deterioration and a much bigger mess now than when the Frenchman first joined.

His predecessor, Bruce Rioch left behind the best back five in Europe and world-class players such as Platt, Bergkamp and Wright. Things were not perfect, but the club was back on the up after George Graham took his eye off the ball and left the club somewhat under a cloud.

Currently, Arsenal are on a slippery slope and only have two players that can remotely be categorised as world-class, Alexis Sanchez and (arguably) Mesut Ozil. With only one year left on what is likely to be their final big contract, if either player has any ambition about them they will surely leave Arsenal this summer.

Wenger may publicly insist that Sanchez and Ozil have to see out their remaining year, but let’s get real. Without Champions League football, the club is going to suffer enough of a financial downturn without attempting to hold on to these players against their will and lose out on a prospective £80-100m in transfer fees.

Needless to say, Arsenal does not look like a club with a particularly bright future right now. No longer able to offer Champions League football and with five Premier League clubs, plus a host of others around Europe, looking far more attractive options for any high-profile player to join, replacing players of Sanchez and/or Ozil’s quality looks an impossible feat for any manager in the short term.

On the other hand, in the unlikely event that Sanchez and/or Ozil do choose to stay, the club is similarly stuffed. In order to meet their salary demands, the club will not be able to afford enough purchases to improve the squad in any meaningful way without breaking Premier League salary cap rules - even though a string of players are likely to be removed from the wage bill.

What most people fail to understand is that there is no point Kroenke, or a new owner, pumping extra investment into the club to buy the ‘world-class’ players the club supposedly needs because the salary cap would only prevent the acquisition of said players.

The question everybody now wants to know is, who will the club turn to in order to rebuild the mess that Arsene Wenger has left? Owner Stan Kroenke has three options. Option one is to sell the club while its stock remains high. He is sitting on a huge profit, but denied access to the big money league and with massive commercial deals like Puma and The Emirates (next year) due for renewal, Arsenal’s reconfigured status is sure to hit the company’s valuation hard.

Meanwhile, if Kroenke thinks club level supporters are going to continue paying the highest ticket prices in Europe to entertain corporate guests for Europa League football and sustained Premier League mediocrity, then he’s in the wrong business. Indeed, prices are being reduced as we speak, but it’s doubtful that will be enough to avoid a significant downturn in revenues.

Option two is to sack Wenger in the hope of retaining Sanchez and Ozil. CEO Ivan Gazidis would then be charged with trying to sell them the future by appointing a new high-profile manager and restructuring the club.

The third option is to keep Wenger in his seat, thus guaranteeing statis, or worse, and a further deterioration of the supporters’ trust that will only intensify the counter-productive atmosphere and ever-increasing ill-feeling towards the owner.

For Wenger’s part, the decent and logical thing for him to now do would be to admit his fundamental flaws and walk. However, this man’s ego, arrogance and incompetence are unparalleled. This is not the same person that walked through Highbury’s marbled halls in 1996. His early success has disfigured him, creating a monstrous, loathsome hypocrite who has abused his privilege and persistently tried to manipulate the discourse in order to retain power, status and wealth.

A manager that should be revered by supporters as one of the club’s true greats has been reduced, in my eyes, to a surreptitious coward that only elicits feelings of contempt and revulsion.

Failure is certainly no disgrace, it’s how you fail and how you respond to it. Drunk on his dictatorial power and ego, Wenger refuses to shoulder a single drop of responsibility or accountability, that much is clear, but how will the board view things? The forthcoming FA Cup Final seems like a mere distraction compared to some of the big decisions that need to be made that will no-doubt be imperative to the club’s long-term future.

Personally, I believe that non-Champions League qualification has changed the ballpark considerably. One can only guess at what might happen over the coming months, but walking away with a hefty profit must surely seem an attractive option to Kroenke at this point in time, particularly as that money could be used to help restore his reportedly failing business franchises elsewhere.

As for Wenger, his overblown ego comes first and he’ll do whatever he believes is best for him, not the club. I’m pretty sure that even if Wenger is offered a new contract by the board, he will require clarity on Ozil and Sanchez’s futures before committing. Should they want out, suddenly Arsenal looks a horribly unattractive short-term prospect for any high-profile manager, and Wenger may therefore decide to shift the blame and skulk off to PSG or whatever other club is stupid enough to get saddled with him.

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