Speculation Begins Over Wenger’s Arsenal Future
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger may be waiting until the summer to decide his future. But speculation suggests that he has already decided to leave.
Wenger’s Arsenal side were humiliated in a 5-1 Champions League defeat by Bayern Munich on Wednesday night. It means Wenger’s dreams of glory in Europe’s top club competition lie in tatters. No side has ever overturned a four-goal deficit in the second leg of a tie in the Champions League era. With the Gunners ten points adrift of leaders Chelsea in the Premier League the FA Cup remains Arsenal’s only hope of silverware this season.
Reports on Thursday suggested Wenger will see out his present contract which expires in the summer. The Arsenal board put a two-year contract on the table earlier this season. They will leave it up to the Frenchman to decide his own future.
But a number of outlets claim this will be Wenger’s final season in charge. The Daily Telegraph says Arsenal have already begun to discreetly make enquiries about possible candidates.
The Daily Mirror goes further. It points to a so-called four-man shortlist of Borussia Dortmund’s Thomas Tuchel, Juventus coach Massimilano Allegri, Bayer Leverkusen’s Roger Schmidt and Monaco’s Leonardo Jardim. The name of Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez is also being chucked about.
Wenger was asked after the match by German TV station ZDF when he would make a decision on his future. “March, April probably,” was his response. It had been thought that Wenger would sign a new deal during the international break next month. That now looks unlikely.
Wenger waited until Arsenal won the FA Cup before putting pen to paper on a new deal in 2014. That was the Gunners’ first major trophy in nine years. But an FA Cup win won’t do for Arsenal fans. They want one of the big two titles -the Premier League or the Champions League. Both are out of Wenger’s sights.
Sanchez Arsenal Future In Doubt
Wenger or his successor may have to do without forward Alexis Sanchez. The Chile international is dragging his feet over a new deal and flew to Italy on Thursday morning. Arsenal have given Sanchez permission to take a few days off and he is unlikely to be in contention for Monday’s FA Cup Fifth Round tie at non-league Sutton United.
The fact that Sanchez flew to Italy is being greeted with some dismay. Juventus are strongly linked with a summer move. But Manchester City and now Paris Saint-Germain are also being linked.
Sanchez’s present contract expires at the end of next season and the Chilean is thought to be weighing up his options during a short break with an Italian friend.
Perez Wants World Cup Shot
Striker Lucas Perez could also be on his way out of Arsenal this summer. The Spaniard has started just two Premier League games this season and stayed behind in England instead of travelling to Munich for Wednesday’s game. A hamstring injury is being blamed.
Perez still has aspirations of playing for Spain at the 2018 World Cup and those dreams aren’t going to be realised on the Arsenal bench.
The 28-year-old has yet to make his international debut for Spain but Goal says Perez could move elsewhere in order to play his way into the plans of national team coach Julen Lopetegui.