Could this be the year when Arsène Wenger finally steps down as an Arsenal manager? Wenger’s £8m-a-year contract expires at the end of the season, and there is a strong possibility that he might walk away. A new two-year-old contract is on the table, and it is up to Wenger to decide whether he will stay put.
Newcastle United manager, Rafael Benítez, has emerged as a shock candidate to replace him. Arsenal have drawn up a shortlist of four candidates, and Benítez is among them. The Spaniard will face competition for the post with Borussia Dortmund’s Thomas Tuchel, while Barcelona’s Luis Enrique, and Monaco’s Leonardo Jardim remain other options.
According to reports from the Mirror, Benítez will ask Arsenal legend Thierry Henry to join as a member of the coaching staff. The move, if does materialise, will serve a huge blow to Newcastle, as Benítez is close to taking them to the Premier League next season.
Benítez would love to continue the good work he has been doing with Newcastle, but even he would admit that the opportunity of managing a big club like Arsenal is too tempting to refuse straightaway.
Henry, likewise, would welcome the opportunity to join his beloved club, as he has already been cutting his teeth in management, working alongside Roberto Martinez with Belgium.
Arsenal are third in the Premier League, nine points behind Chelsea, and the managerial uncertainty will continue to grow if the Gunners drop out of the top four. On the flip side, Arsenal still have a chance, no matter how faint, to win the league if Chelsea collapse dramatically from here on. And if that happens, no way will the Arsenal board allow Wenger to leave the club.