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Wenger's Contract renewal or a war chest document?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

          A particular piece of paper that would decide what the future of Arsenal football club looks like. Arsenal has been the pioneer in cultivating home grown players under Arsène Wenger but the question still remains, whether his contract should be renewed at Arsenal?

  Back in 1997/1998, during his 1st full season in-charge at Arsenal, Wenger won the double, Premier League and the FA cup sending out a message to all the other teams in the Premier league that he meant business. He did the double again in 2001/2002 season, 3 years later. In 2003/2004 he did what no other Manager has been able to achieve, he took a very resilient Arsenal Team and went through an entire league campaign without losing, which saw Arsenal win 26 games, draw 12 and lose Exactly none. With a total of 90 points they stormed the league and set a new bar which is still standing tall. A FA cup win over rivals Manchester United in 2004/2005 was helping build Arsène a quality resume. Other major changes that Arsène brought to Arsenal was their playing style and a whooping £390 million Emirates stadium that is a fortress compared to its predecessor Highbury.

          After moving to the Emirates stadium in 2006, Arsenal has just won 2 FA cups in 2013/14 and 2014/15 seasons, and saw a number of key figures leave the team with the likes of Thierry Henry, Cesc Fàbregas and Robin Van Persie. This was presumptuous for a club trying to pay its dues in order to recuperate its stadium debt. After 9 years of no trophies which followed back to back FA cup wins, Arsenal fans looked hungry for greater glory in Europe and in the League. But a consecutive 7th season where Arsenal have succumbed in the last 16 of the Champions league to the likes of the mighty Bayern, Barcelona and even AS Monaco and finishing 4th in 3 of the last 6 seasons has left the fans with disappointment, animosity and contempt with regards to the manager. A group of fans have already expressed their genuine views about the present situation at the club and their dissatisfaction in regards to not winning any major trophy.

          In 2013, the revenue that Arsenal generated was £242.80 million and the profit earned was £5.8 million. These numbers increased to £298.70 million and £7.3 million in 2014 and £329.3 million (restated) and £14.8 million in 2015 respectively. In 2016, Arsenal generated revenue of £350.6 million. So even though Arsenal is in a comfortable position to compete with other clubs financially, why are they not able to compete against the European giants and in the domestic league as well?

         There are fans growing in number each day  and claim that the manager and the board are responsible for the gradual downfall of the club and a very stagnant performance on the pitch. Is that really the scenario at the club? What are the other factors that influence the under firing team? Currently Arsenal sit 3 points behind Manchester United in 7th position after they succumbed to Crystal Palace which resulted in a 3 - 0 defeat. Arsenal has spent over £90 million trying to re-shape the squad around Alexis, Özil and Čech. The signings include Granit Xhaka, Takuma Asano, Rob Holding, Lucas Pérez and Shkodran Mustafi. Even after spending a little over £90 million last summer, Arsenal fails to perform in big games acquiring only 5 points out of the possible 27 against the top 6 this season. With Alexis and Özil's contracts still pending to be renewed, drifting away from Champions league spot for next season and raged fans, Arsène Wenger has a big job at hand and still continues to stall about his future at the club.
- Abhay Thekkany

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