Arsene Wenger is not riding the best wave after yesterday’s dismantling by Bayern Munich, having woken up to headlines questioning from his future to his sanity.
It might be especially hurtful to see former Arsenal players get on the bandwagon in their hints to him ending his two-decade long stay at the club.
“Arsene must be considering his future now,” Keown said for BT Sport. “I feel for Arsene Wenger right now. It’s almost embarrassing. Outclassed, outplayed. What is it now, 20 years? Seriously, now Arsene Wenger must be considering his future because that was embarrassing.
“I can’t ever say that I’d like to see him go when you’ve won things [under him]. He’s almost like my footballing father, but he’s an intelligent man, and this is obviously his lowest point.”
The train has been gathering speed since Arsenal’s annual collapse in the Premier League too, losing two games in a row against Watford and Chelsea, and it seems it has reached unstoppable speed. Former Arsenal full-back Lee Dixon thinks the Champions League thrashing to Bayern is the final straw.
“That’s the first time I’ve seen him where I’ve thought ‘he thinks it’s time.’ The fact that he hasn’t been able to get a response from the players in the last few weeks might be the final straw.”
Arsenal fans have been divided whether Wenger should go or stay for about six-seven years now, but if the weight of the argument has steadily been tilting the ‘wengerout’ side, the ever-so open criticism of former Arsenal footballers who Wenger had led to success before signals approaching doom.
Last week, Thierry Henry questioned Wenger’s lack of mental steel in training sessions, while Ian Wright called the Gunner’s performance in Germany ‘shambolic’ and vowed to never watch another game.
Patrick Vieira’s departure in 2005 was the first sign that hinted of a problem inside the club, and this has been confirmed almost every year. Vieira later criticised Wenger for his attitude towards former players and, reportedly claimed that Arsenal might never win another title under the French manager.
All of this begs the question: How long before Wenger sees what everybody else is seeing? A pang of certainty tells me it will be soon.
Arsenal are now facing non-league club Sutton United in the FA Cup on Monday in a last-ditch effort to lift what’s remaining of their spirits.