Arsenal Focus - Wenger puts contract talks on the back burner
When Arsene Wenger first took his seat in the Highbury dugout in October 1996, Arsenal were struggling to make an impression among England's elite. Since the introduction of the Premier League, the best position that the Gunners could muster until that point was a fourth place finish in the 1993-94 campaign. If the Arsenal faithful were told they would be lifting the Premier League trophy less than two years after the appointment of the unknown Wenger, they would dismiss the suggestion as stark raving mad.
But Wenger did deliver the league title in the following season and he remains in North London to this day, as he approaches his sixteenth anniversary as the figurehead at Arsenal. Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has confirmed in an interview with the Daily Mirror that Wenger will be offered a new deal before his current contract expires in 2014 - a move which has divided fans and the media.
The Daily Mirror greeted Gazidis' news by referring to the Arsenal manager as 'Arsene Wonga' before transmitting the the now-notorious fact that he has led his side through seven seasons without a finger touching silverware. With Wenger now a 62-year-old, questions are also being asked about Wenger's plans for retirement as some believe 2014 to be the ideal time for him to step down.
However such articles are considered disrespectful and premature by the majority of Arsenal supporters. It must be remembered that Wenger has achieved an immeasurable amount of accomplishments in his time at Arsenal.
For example, never has he finished lower than fourth in the Premier League. Last season was perhaps the biggest test of that fact when, despite losing Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri in the previous summer, and losing 8-1 to long-time rivals Manchester United, Arsenal somehow regrouped to edge into a Champions League spot, against the odds.
Understandably with two years left on his current deal, Wenger himself is taking his time with regards to agreeing to a new contract and seems to be linking any potential new deal with how Arsenal perform on the pitch.
Speaking to journalists, Wenger said: “I have to consider if I do well or not. If I don't do well, I have to consider my future. At the moment we are not there. I have to consider that, at my age, you always have to assess if you have the fitness, the desire, the commitment that this job demands.”
He continued: “Then of course you have to make your decisions. I hope I will be lucid enough and intelligent enough to assess my performance well. Two years is a long time in my job. I just want to do well for the club as long as I can and accept all the rest.”
Two years is definitely a long time. By the time his contract runs out in the summer of 2014, he could have guided the Gunners to another unlikely league title.
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