Former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour believes Arsene Wenger will still be in charge next season – but it could be his last.
The Gunners boss is once again facing calls to quit from a growing section of fans following another failure to mount a title challenge, while he’s also been labelled “weak spirited” and accused of holding the club back.
Parlour, who played under Wenger the last time Arsenal won the title in 2004, says the board should have a decision to make over his future this summer.
However, he feels the Frenchman will be able to leave on his own terms once his current contract runs out due to his past achievements and the lack of viable alternatives.
“I don’t think he’ll leave, I think he’ll be there next season,” said Parlour, who was speaking on behalf of Vauxhall, the England team sponsor.
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“It’s a situation where Wenger will decide when he leaves, and he’s been there so long he probably deserves that.
“But it might be his last season next year, at the end of his contract. At the moment it’s going to be difficult for the board to get rid of Arsene.
“You always worry about which manager comes in next. Who would you have? Jurgen Klopp’s gone to Liverpool, Pep Guardiola to Man City. There isn’t a huge amount of managers out there.
“It’s a big decision they’ve got to make. If you’re going to sack a manager you’ve got to have a plan. And if they don’t have a plan then they’ve got to keep him.”
Disgruntled Arsenal fans believe they have missed a golden chance to end their title drought this season, with Leicester on the brink of an extraordinary triumph and Arsenal’s derby rivals Tottenham their only challengers.
Parlour on Arsenal failures
But Parlour puts Arsenal’s failure down to the players Wenger has put his faith in and a lack of leadership on the pitch.
“They had the chance to win the league this year, but then so did a lot of clubs,” added Parlour.
“Every year the discontent will grow. It probably doesn’t help that Leicester and Tottenham are above them.
“Sometimes you have to look at the players and whether they’re strong enough mentally.
“Maybe it’s not the little tricky players you want to get, but those strong players like Tony Adams at the back.
“When you’re up against it it’s down to the players to sort out what’s wrong. We did that when we played. There are not enough characters like that on the pitch at the moment.
“They need a top-quality centre-half and they need another striker. Mesut Ozil has created the most chances of any midfielder in the Premier League, but they still haven’t scored enough goals.
“I know top strikers are hard to find but they nearly got Luis Suarez and that’s the calibre of player they’ve got to look at.”