Arsene Wenger's position as Arsenal boss is becoming untenable.
Winning the Premier League and challenging for consistent honours is no picnic, but his fruitless endeavours at the Emirates are clearly becoming tiresome for a section of Arsenal fans.
These supporters are demanding an immediate change at the top after no league title since 2004, despite successive FA Cup wins in 2014 and 2015. Banners of 'Wenger Out' have quickly found their way around the Gunners support home and away this season, but is axing the most successful manager in their history the answer?
Over a 1,118 game period, Wenger has a win ratio of 57% and has hauled in 15 trophies since his appointment in 1996. Arsenal fans want a new lease of life in the hot-seat, but there isn't anybody out there who can equal, or better yet, surpass that record.
According to SkyBet, the leading contenders to replace Wenger as the next manager are Roberto Mancini, Ronald Koeman, Dennis Bergkamp and Joachim Loew. Out of all of those contenders, the only man you'd bank on to bring success to the club would be Loew after his World Cup triumph with Germany, but he's been out of the club game since 2004.
Mancini was a Premier League winner with City, but even that couldn't prevent him from being ousted, despite possessing a team of superstars.
Koeman looks to have bags of potential as a manager, although he hasn't had a chance to claim success at the highest level.
You'd likely struggle to find an unhappy Arsenal fan if Dennis Bergkamp, currently assistant manager at Ajax, was appointed as Wenger's successor, but he is also incredibly unproven, and we also know how club legends fare in the dugout.
If you're going to sack your most successful manager of all time, a world class coach must be waiting in the wings. Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp are no longer up for grabs and Diego Simeone looks to be sitting comfy at Atletico. PSG's Laurent Blanc could be an option but you wonder how many managers would fail to win Ligue 1 with that team.
Wenger looked a broken man in his press conference when quizzed yet again on his Arsenal future and protests from supporters.
When asked if he would stay as long as Sir Alex Ferguson, the Frenchman said "No, no, never. Don't worry." It sounds as though he's been worn out by the overwhelming pressure from the stands and the constant undermining of his ability as a manager.
We saw the problems David Moyes faced when he succeeded Sir Alex. United are now in a state of flux and we don't know how long it will be until they are restored to their former selves. Arsenal fans have long bemoaned the 'same old story' of finishing third or fourth each year, but what if the next man in charge delivered sixth or seventh every year?
The guessing is that Wenger doesn't want to leave the club until he's set it on course for stability in the future. When he arrived in North London, he guided the team to third place in his first season, with the Gunners previously recording finishes of fifth in the 1995/1996 season and a lowly 12th in 1994/1995.
Under Ferguson, United never finished lower than third in the top flight. Their finishes since speak volumes about sustainability.
Not all Gunners fans want the board to dispose of Wenger, but the ones that do would be naive to think that a new manager would restore this underachieving Arsenal team to the top of the Premier League after a 12 year absence.
The 66-year-old has moulded the entire club into his own- something many fans take issue with. Indeed his affinity with the board and his diligent work developing the academy and the scouting network overseas has undoubtedly given him an added bubble of protection, although that in itself has to be a reason why it would be crazy to give him the chop.
Arsenal have an amazing foundation and some world class talent that we haven't seen since the Thierry Henry days. Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and the excellent upcoming talent of Hector Bellerin gives the North Londoners enough quality to challenge for the title every season, but Wenger should work with the fans instead of against them to weld the squad into one capable of lifting the title one last time before he calls it a day.
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