21 years and counting, as Arsenal have announced that Arsene Wenger has signed a new two-year contract, following successful talks with Stan Kroenke, yesterday:
“Our ambition is to win the Premier League and other major trophies in Europe. It’s what the fans, players, staff, manager and board expect and we won’t rest until that is achieved. Arsène is the best person to help us make that happen. He has a fantastic track record and has our full backing.”
As Robbie from ArsenalFanTV gleefully rubs his hands over the announcement – you’d like to think the irony of the platform needing Wenger to stay, to maintain any form of relevance, isn’t lost on him – Arsene Wenger is tasked with the most difficult job of his wonderful tenure: revolution not evolution.
A manager famously stubborn and blindly loyal to his footballing values and methods, has two years to make Arsenal title challengers again, and that means more than just adjusting the personnel on the football pitch.
Although Le Professeur has won the battle over the Gunners not appointing a Director of Football, a lot of changes will happen from the boardroom down to the academy pitches.
In fact, that very change can be seen from the official club statement. In 2014, Wenger’s last new deal, it was Sir Chips Keswick – ridiculous name – who commented on Arsene staying, but this time, Ivan Gazidis was the man to churn out a few clichés; shift in power?
“There is no complacency anywhere at this club. Our goal is to compete for and win trophies here and in Europe. Everything we do is designed to make that happen and we will be working hard on and off the pitch this summer to improve and make a strong challenge next season. The club has grown beyond recognition in every aspect in recent years and we have the platform to be successful and meet the ambitions we and our fans share.”
Wenger has been given another chance to rewrite the final years of his Arsenal legacy, and boy does he deserve it, but has the Frenchman missed the chance already?