Analysing the cold, hard evidence: Will Arsene Wenger stay, or will he go?
It's also been claimed that the club slipped the January rumour out to test the water with the fans
In January, rumours emerged that a new two-year deal was on the table for Wenger; days later, it was officially announced that Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny and Francis Coquelin had all penned contract extensions. Players are usually reticent to commit their futures to a club if there's a question mark hanging over the manager’s future (oh, hi there Mesut), so some fans have put two and two together and concluded that Wenger has, in fact, already signed the extension.
It's also been claimed that the club slipped the January rumour out to test the water with fans, and that the French trio’s signatures prove that the long-serving gaffer has himself signed on the dotted line.
The under-fire boss has said he'll decide his future in March or April. Results during those months will go a long way to determining his side's prospects of a top-four finish, as well as their chances of winning the FA Cup. Those who suspect he's already signed point to the comment as proof that Wenger and the club are simply waiting for an opportune moment to reveal the news to a frazzled fan base.
He says he wants a revolution
The Frenchman says he wants to “reinvent” his coaching approach at Arsenal – hardly the talk of someone planning to quit
The Frenchman says he wants to “reinvent” his coaching approach at Arsenal – hardly the talk of someone planning to quit but very much the sentiment of one planning to hang around. Wenger-friendly journalists have written stories claiming such a revolution is already under way: it's said, for instance, that the Frenchman has tailored training programmes for the run-in, which is seen as a small but significant switch from the past.
An expert in deflection
If Wenger left and Kroenke fluffed the succession, fans would quickly turn their wrath on the owner
Football managers increasingly take the heat away from club owners. Nowhere is this truer than at Arsenal, where, thanks to Wenger’s longstanding presence, owner Stan Kroenke faces a fraction of the criticism many believe he deserves. But if Wenger left and Kroenke fluffed the succession, fans would quickly turn their wrath on the owner. Has the American made Wenger an offer he cannot refuse?
The Gunners’ progression to the semi-finals of the FA Cup could be the beginning of an archetypal latter-Wenger-era-papering-over-the-cracks run-in.
In recent press conferences, Wenger has made a number of comments which suggest he's already decided to stay. The 67-year-old recently said of his mood: “I feel very strong, very motivated, ready to give my best.”