Arsenal’s second largest shareholder Alisher Usmanov has leapt to the defence of Arsene Wenger by claiming that the Frenchman should keep his job, according to BT Sport.
Wenger has received considerable criticism from some supporters, with many calling for the Frenchman to end his 20-year reign at the North London club following a string of poor results. The Gunners have been knocked out of both the Champions League and the FA Cup, and they have also slumped to 11 points behind Premier League leaders Leicester City.
Top10bet.com have reported a high increase in bets being placed on Frank De Boer to become the next Arsenal manager stating “we have seen a recent increase in bets being placed on the next Arsenal manager which suggests there’s a general feeling that time for Arsene Wenger at Arsenal is coming to an end and outsider Frank De Boer at 25/1 seems to be a favourite among bettors”, but it seems as though Arsenal fans may have to wait at least another year before seeing a new manager in place.
Usmanov was questioned about the Gunners in an interview with Russian TV station Rossiya24 and the steel tycoon hailed the stable performances under the French coach, insisting Wenger remains a critical cog in the setup. He said:
“Arsenal’s results are stable. They are always among the leaders of the English Premier League. This is a good and large sports business project, and I am pleased with it. The only thing is that today such situation occurred, like in any sport, there are ups and downs.”
“The club must retain its major symbol and main asset – manager Arsene Wenger. Failures have been haunting Arsenal for many years now, they cannot become the EPL (English Premier League) champions. This has led to some discontent with Wenger’s position as a manager.”
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“I believe that Arsene Wenger is a great coach, and Arsenal has to give him the opportunity to plan the succession process and leave his legacy when he deems it necessary. It is very important for the football club to maintain the principles that were established by those people who created its victories.”
“Arsenal needs Arsene Wenger.”
Wenger will always be a legend at the club for the manner in which he revolutionised the team, brought such expansive football to north London and won trophies with a swagger. But the last league title came over a decade ago, and for some supporters, that’s simply not good enough.
If he is to leave, its likely he’ll be the one to walk away. Those Arsenal fans hoping for a change in management will be disappointed by the remarks after what’s been another underwhelming campaign.
Wenger’s contract expires next summer, and given the amount of confidence the board has in him, it wouldn’t be a great surprise if a new contract was agreed soon.