Arsène Wenger could vacate his post as head coach of Arsenal after more than two decades at the end of this season as the pressure on him to produce results continues to grow.
Fans have been calling for the 67 years old Frenchman to step down as the club has failed to win a major trophy for some years now. The calls for Wenger to leave got louder this week after Arsenal was knocked out of the UEFA Champions League with a loss to Bayern Munich, 1-5, in the second leg of their Round of 16 clash.Arsenal is out of the running for both the Champions League and the English Premier League this season. Arsenal has never won the Champions League, and the last time the team won the Premier League was in 2004.
Given the state of affairs at the club, some are calling for Arsène Wenger to quit as coach when his current contract with the club expires at the end of the season in summer. While Wenger is said to be keen on staying on at Arsenal, it is clear he would have to somehow placate the growing number of supporters who want him to go.
Arsène Wenger admitted on Thursday that the fans would "influence" his decision to either stay or leave his job as coach of Arsenal, the Telegraph reported.
"It will not be the most important factor but it will influence of course. I work very hard for 20 years to make the fans happy," he said. "When we lose I understand they are not [happy]. I don't want to judge; I do my daily work with my commitment. You have to accept different opinions."
Arsène Wenger is one of the longest serving coaches in the history of the Premier League. He has been coaching Arsenal since 1996. Given his history with the club, Wenger's departure would be a major move.
Arsenal Chairman Sir Chips Keswick has released a statement saying that the board will sit with Wenger at the end of the season to determine whether he stays or goes, the Sun reported. For now, the Arsenal board apparently wants Wenger to focus on getting the club to finish in a top four position on the league table and possibly winning the FA Cup.
Keswick, who said he understands the debate about Arsène Wenger's future, noted that the club and coach would communicate their decision to the public at the right time.
"We respect that fans are entitled to their different individual opinions but we will always run this great football club with its best long-term interests at heart," Keswick's statement said. "Arsène has a contract until the end of the season. Any decision will be made by us mutually and communicated at the right time in the right way."
Former Arsenal player Martin Keown stated in an article for the Daily Mail that he thinks Wenger knows that his time is up at Arsenal, but he wants to bow out "as a winner, as a champion."
"Maybe winning the FA Cup and finishing in the top four might achieve that," Keown wrote. "He has been the greatest manager in Arsenal's history and he deserves to go without so much fury and recrimination."
Meanwhile, Arsène Wenger has stated that he is not worried about his legacy at Arsenal.
"I don't work for my image, I work for this club with full commitment. After, how I will be judged is not too much my problem," he said. "I think I have shown I love this club, that I am loyal, that I make the right decisions. I will continue to do that by respecting the values that I think are vital for me."
Could Arsène Wenger leave Arsenal this summer? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.
[Featured Image by Francois Mori/AP Photo]