During this current international break, some comments circulated in the media in which you stated that you had “no doubt” you will be in charge of Arsenal next season. I have to say: I agree.
While the appetite for change appears to be growing among the fans, it seems the board will be sated by yet another top four finish. Winning the Premier League does not seem particularly high on their agenda.
It must be high on yours. After all, it’s been 12 seasons now. Your current contract expires just over a year from now – surely you’ll be desperate to avoid unlucky 13.
A league title may be the only thing that can repair a fractious relationship with the fans.
However, if you want to win back their faith ahead of the new campaign, there are things you could do.
The first suggestion won’t be unfamiliar to you: spend some money. Last summer, Arsenal were the only club in the Premier League who opted not to sign an outfield player. Your belief in stability is admirable, but the trials of this season have shown it to be misplaced. If next season is to be your last shot at the league, exploit every available resource.
Sometimes it feels almost like you feel guilty about cracking into the club’s fabled warchest. However, we’re now in such a prosperous position that we ought to be able shatter records without any significant repercussions.
That’s partly down to your acumen in the market. Now, the fans want nothing more than to see those hard-won cash reserves spent. Your reward ought to be the freedom to recruit world class talent.
That may require you to dispense with some of the current crop — so be it. This summer, you need to be ruthless. Your loyalty to certain players is commendable, but it could be approaching a fault. Your inclination to keep the squad relatively compact may well be right, but that may well force you to replace some of the existing members.
Selling someone like Theo Walcott would send a message that mediocrity is no longer good enough. After 10 years with the club, surely he’s had enough chances to show he can deliver the goods. Instead of being rewarded with lucrative new deals, it’s time for the perennial under-achievers to be shown the door.
The list of potential departures might be longer than many expect.
Is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain really ever going to put together the run of form and fitness required to fulfil his potential? Olivier Giroud turns 30 this season – could this be the optimum moment to cash in on him and replace him with an elite talent?
If the fans saw you trimming the fat from the squad, they’d know you mean business.
The Emirates Stadium is not an easy place to play football at the moment. The atmosphere is so tense that it can verge upon toxic. If Arsenal are to have any chance of a successful 2016-17 campaign, the fans will need to be united in support of both team and manager. If you are to rally the supporters around you, you must show a willingness to change.
You may well be convinced you’ll survive beyond this season, but the next may very well be your last. Every Arsenal fan would love to believe it could be a glorious farewell with a triumphant finale.
Your job this summer is to give us a reason to believe. Over to you, Arsene.