In Depth

Arsenal should let Wenger go and copy Everton and Liverpool

Man United's fate has Gunners worried about Wenger's departure, but change can be positive

THERE is a growing school of thought that the only thing keeping Arsene Wenger in his job at Arsenal is the dreadful fate of Manchester United this season. As the wheels come off yet another campaign for the Gunners there are fears that, although the club has not won a trophy for nine years, Arsenal would be much worse off without the Frenchman. This theory is based on events at Old Trafford, where the departure of Alex Ferguson after 27 years at the helm has had a catastrophic effect. "Sir Alex Ferguson is not in the habit of doing favours for Arsene Wenger, but may have done just that last summer," writes Matt Hughes for The Times. "The former Manchester United manager's role in the so far disastrous appointment of David Moyes at Old Trafford could inadvertently extend his great rival's stay at the Emirates Stadium." He might be right, says the Daily Telegraph. It claims that Wenger will be begged to sign a new two-year deal at the Emirates even if he fails to win the FA Cup and the Gunners finish outside the top four this season - events that could prompt the 64-year-old to tender his resignation. "Although there are contingency plans in the event of Wenger's departure, Arsenal are hoping he signs a new contract," says the paper, because the "board are acutely aware of United's plight". But although comparisons with United are valid - both Wenger and Ferguson exerted huge control over their clubs - events elsewhere suggest that change can have a positive effect. If Arsenal do finish fifth it is likely to be behind Everton, a side that has been reborn this season under Roberto Martinez, who replaced Moyes at Goodison Park last summer. Under Moyes, who was in charge of the Toffees for 11 seasons, Everton were seen as a limited team on a tight budget, punching well above their weight thanks to the efforts of their manager. That is not a million miles from the situation at Arsenal. Moyes has had a torrid time at Old Trafford, but the most damning indictment of his techniques is to be found at Everton, where Martinez has breathed new life into a tired squad, albeit with the help of on-loan striker Romelu Lukaku. His success would suggest that sometimes a team can stagnate under a manager and that a new approach can work. Change, for Everton at least, is not always a bad thing. Another manager who has taken an underachieving club living in the past and turned it round is Brendan Rodgers of Liverpool. His appointment at Anfield also marked a conscious break with the past when he was brought in to replace the legendary Kenny Dalglish in 2012. Dalglish's second spell in charge of the Reds was not a happy one, the returning king had failed to prosper and the club's owners realised it was time to look forwards not backwards. After finishing in seventh last season Rodgers has turned the Reds into genuine title challengers and one of the most watchable teams in England. It is no surprise that both Rodgers and Martinez are being spoken of as potential successors to Wenger, and the Daily Mirror adds Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp to the list. Whether they can get them is another question. But whatever happens to Wenger this summer, when he does finally go the Gunners should look to Merseyside for inspiration rather than tremble at the fate of United.

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