Tomorrow, the Arsenal board will meeting to review the past season, look to the team’s future and, most crucially, determine the future of one Arsene Wenger. Out of a contract, the long-term Gunner’s manager has improved his chances on the back of an excellent end to the season, winning nine of ten and a seventh FA Cup during his tenure.
He’ll also have a two year contract on the table that he signed back in November. According to reports, terms of the contract were agreed to but not authorized by the board, so should they be satisfied with Wenger, it’ll come down to a simple nod and signature rather than any prolonged negotiations.
Majority shareholder Stan Kroenke likely has the final say on such a decision and his support of Wenger has been fairly unwavering. However, a challenge is being put forth by CEO Ivan Gazidis, who supports the retention for a 22nd season if certain provisions are agreed to. Most importantly, that changes are made behind the scenes to ensure a smooth transition of power once Wenger finally leaves.
Oddly, there has been no indication of the requirements of a Director of Football or any curtailing of Wenger’s hold on the club, merely that they prepare for how an exchange of power would occur when the time comes. Sounds a lot like a situation you need when looking toward the exit of a dictator. Still, with most insiders expecting the contract to be signed, beginning the framework for the next manager and avoiding the chaos of a sudden departure seems like the smartest business and perhaps the only leverage the board can muster over Wenger’s control.
Wenger’s ability to find some form in a disastrous season is promising, although only slightly, and support of the players will likely give him the board’s blessing to get the team back to the top of the League and into Champions League football over the next two season. Then, should he choose, Wenger can walk away and leave the team in capable hands or the board can finally be set to replace him at their whim, with a proper succession strategy in place. Outside of more trophies, this is a good win for both sides.