We all know that Arsene Wenger’s future is year by year (or at most, two years at a time) at this point - not out of a position of weakness, more as a recognition that at this stage in his amazing Arsenal career, he decides his own fate, for the most part.
Today, though, Ivan Gazidis talked about Wenger’s future, and he seemed to be doing two things. The first, assuring fans that said future will be decided on as “a mutual decision as to how long he’ll continue. Both (Wenger and the club) need to be on the same page on that.”, is not exactly new - this has been the stance of both the club and the manager for the last few contract cycles.
The question that Gazidis’ quote about a ‘mutual decision’ raises, though, is: when is it ‘beneficial’ to the club to part ways with Wenger, assuming what all we know about the club and Wenger's relationship?
The second thing Gazidis was doing, though, was seemingly laying the groundwork for an eventual departure:
“Arsenal is not Arsène Wenger. They’re not one in the same thing. What Arsène has done is to capture and understand and embrace the values of the club and enhance them.”
This should in no way read as a condemnation of Arsene, nor are they FIGHTIN’ WORDS that people should take to mean Gazidis and the board are forcing Wenger’s hand. What they are, though, is a subtle acknowledgment, in public, that Arsenal are bigger than any one person, and that the club won’t let their affection for Arsene and his achievements cloud their decision-making process - again, not news, but something that has really not been voiced by any official Arsenal person until now.