Arsene Wenger will be the manager of another team from next season most likely.
Wenger, the man who helmed our club for over two decades, through thick and thin, will invest himself into another outfit, wear another set of colours, rebuff a different set of questions from troublesome journalists instead of fending off questions about our club.
Wherever you currently sit on the fence of opinion regarding the Frenchman, this will be an unsettling experience.
Arsene Wenger has Arsenal DNA, and whatever new venture he chooses, it will only be a facade for what is underneath.
His time at Arsenal is nearly over, and the majority of us knew that the end was nigh, but at this moment in time it is unclear whether he jumped or was pushed. The movements behind the scenes surrounding Josh Kroenke could infer that Wenger was given a nod that his time had come, and the empty seats and the hit in the coinpurse could well have been the push that Stan needed to make the move.
Then again, reliable source David Ornstein from the BBC stated that Arsene was moved to depart after we had defeated Chelsea in the FA Cup Final last season, but as there were no hard plans for a replacement, he felt he needed to stay to plug the gap.
Who knows if the truth will out. What we must make sure is that it doesn’t overshadow a fitting send-off for the man who has created all of our high expectations.
Wenger arrived looking very much like a Geography supply teacher. His appearance went very much against the grain of a British tracksuit manager, and his approach matched this incongruent nature.
We all know his novel ideas to diet, training and recruitment, and the success that followed was a testament to his novel approach.
Sadly, the rest of the playing field caught wind of these fresh thoughts, and the competition became altogether tougher – made even more so with the influx of cash.
While success dried up in terms of trophies, some of Arsene’s most glowing of references can be found involving no silverware whatsoever.
Our stadium is in place thanks to the direct involvement of Wenger. Our departing coach could see the tsunami of money that was about to wash over the game, and knew we couldn’t compete at the top level for a prolonged amount of time if we stayed at our magical – but limited – Highbury home.
The Emirates may be devoid of atmosphere at times, but in terms of scope and revenue, it is exactly what we need.
Then there was the financial limitations placed on our club after our stadium was built. Keeping our team involved at the keen edge of football when we regularly had to sell our top stars is nothing short of miraculous, and his masterplan of using the power of youth to create a team very nearly paid off. When all other around were making it rain, Wenger kept to his game plan.
When Wenger has stood in the dugout for the last time, we will be in a far better place than when he joined. We will have the framework necessary to plan for the future, and we have a lot to show gratitude for.
He was prepared to face the critics and tough spells for the greater good of the club, and his love for the club was the very reason why he felt it tough to leave. We should be in no doubt how much Arsenal runs through his veins.
Some have suggested that a stand or even the stadium should be named after him – and I wholeheartedly agree. Our legendary players are cast in bronze outside the stadium, but Wenger’s influence at our club is far bigger than a statue.
So, when we see Arsene in another team’s dugout, yes, it’ll be difficult. But his parting gifts will remain forever. He has changed Arsenal into a team that is expected to challenge at the top end, to a club with the financial muscle to compete. Most importantly though, we are now known the world over for playing football the right way. It’s our brand now.
Wenger told us all in his statement that we need to treasure the values that are the essence of our club. Sometimes it might make it difficult to compete at times, but what’s important is that Arsenal stay intrinsically Arsenal. Arsene knew that, and kept the cannon close to everything he did.
Merci Le Professeur.