There’s been much speculation since the departure of England manager Roy Hodgson that Arsene Wenger is being lined up to take the job.
As with practically every England manager since Glenn Hoddle, Hodgson departed under a dark cloud after another abject tournament performance from an England side, which resulted in them being dumped out by Iceland.
With a year left on his Arsenal contract, the word is that the FA would install an interim manager for the next 12 months before allowing Wenger to walk into the job this time next year.
An enormously stupid idea if ever there was one.
That said, the next time we hear from Arsene, you can be sure that the England job will be the first question put to him, and I expect he will deny his interest in the post outright – not that that will put an end to the speculation.
Frankly, I don’t think he would take the job in a month of Sundays, even if his contract was up. Over and above everything else, it’s a poisoned chalice, a job which has consistently laid waste to reputations over the last 20 years. I think Arsene is too smart to take the risk.
I don’t believe that Arsene will continue in a front-line coaching role after his tenure at Arsenal ends. I may be wrong, but after near 30 years in management he will surely be looking for something a little less demanding as he heads into his later years.
I suspect he will be offered a role in the upper echelons of the Arsenal hierarchy, similar to the role Sir Alex Ferguson now occupies at Manchester United.
With the signing of Granit Xhaka, and others likely to follow in the coming weeks, it seems clear to me that Arsene is deep into plans for next season and a final assault on the Premier League – would he leave the club in the lurch like that? I think not. It’s not his style.
I’m sure there are a large number of fans out there – particularly from the Wenger Out Brigade – who would see this as the ideal way for the manager to depart the club, saving the board from having to sack him, and saving the man himself from having quit and retire.
But I simply can’t see it happening. I think fans need to accept that, come what may, Arsene will be given the final 12 months of his contract for a final tilt at glory and I suspect all his energies will be pouring into going out in a blaze of glory.