Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal future is increasingly likely to hinge on finding a compromise with the club over the desire of senior directors to support significant off-field change this summer.
Regardless of the fan unrest, there has long been an urge on both sides for Wenger and Arsenal to continue their partnership but the ongoing inability to mount a lasting Premier League title challenge has deepened a belief that the structures around the manager require further modernisation.
The Telegraph revealed last month how discreet enquiries were being made over candidates for a potential sporting director role and chief executive Ivan Gazidis then talked on Sunday of the summer being a “catalyst for change”.
Gazidis was not more specific during his meeting with fans but every area of the operation is under review and it was made clear that Arsenal “were not where we want to be” and that the board were being proactive.
The club have invested heavily in the training infrastructure over recent years but will have looked at how Premier league rivals, notably Tottenham and Southampton, have implemented expertise and structures around a manager to help consistently out-perform their relative spending power.
Wenger wants to stay but has admitted that there are final issues to resolve and made strikingly little attempt this week to go along with the idea of major changes.
“Football today is a lot of talks and talks and talks but good players on the pitch are more important than anything else,” he said.
“At the moment you have a lot of money and you spend a lot on things that are superficial. English football has invested a lot in structures, it creates many jobs but you have to see what is really efficient is the quality of the players. My battle in my whole life is to improve and to be better. That is evolution, not change.”
Gazidis and Wenger have always worked closely previously but, if there are now differences, what will ultimately matter is the view of majority owner Stan Kroenke.