Although nearly everybody is heralding Arsene Wenger’s departure as good news, I’m not sure I can agree. The point that everyone seems to be missing is everything depends on his successor. As I’ve stated before, does anyone trust the current board to make the right appointment? If David Dein were on it, I may feel more confident that the board would make the right choice, but without a football man in sight, I’m not sure anyone can say: ‘In the board, we trust’.
Meanwhile, The Gooner is saying that Carlo Ancelotti is almost certain to take the reins. If this is true, then Arsenal’s short-term future does look promising. Ancelotti is more of a tactician than Wenger, so should be able to get the most of the squad. If the Italian is appointed, the club should have the sense to appoint an Arsenal man like Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira or even Mikel Arteta as assistant manager, so that a ready-made replacement (learning on the job) is waiting in the wings. That would make sense. As we all know, however, not everything done at the club is logical.
Then again, credit is due to the club for calling time on Wenger’s reign. Now the club wait for an unknown manager, who may not be able to arrest the decline. Had Wenger stayed, the team’s spiral downwards was terminal, hence the dwindling crowds. A new arrival in the managerial hot-seat should certainly generate some interest initially, at least, so the short-term future should be assured.
When you think of the last ten years of Wenger’s tenure, you’d have to say that there have been an awful lot of disappointments. Some of the signings have been close to absymal, when you compare to the captures of Emmanuel Petit and the aforementioned Vieira, who made Arsenal stand out as the team to beat. If you look at current midfield, you’d have to say Wenger’s successor has a lot of work to do if he wants a midfield partnership as strong as that.
Although Arsenal fans won’t want to hear it, I am not predicting an upturn in fortunes on the pitch, since the announcement. As The Online Gooner has remarked, Wenger was pushed. He was never going to leave the job voluntarily. This may leave a sour taste in his mouth and, despite his wanting to win the Europa League, it is hard to see the team beating Atletico Madrid over two legs, let alone one. Even if the fans now finally unite, the job ahead is too difficult for this Arsenal team, which has been cobbled together (so unlike the way Arsenal looked when Wenger took over).
At least, the Wenger departure proves that the Emirates is no ‘Hotel California’. For Wenger, he can no longer ‘check out any time’ he likes but he can definitely leave with his head held high should he win his first European trophy.