Arsene Wenger will destroy his legacy if he does not walk away from Arsenal this summer, according to Piers Morgan.
The high-profile Gunners fan joined Drivetime to discuss another disappointing season for the north Londoners, amplified by the success stories of Leicester City and neighbours Tottenham.
A poor run of form in 2016 has seen Arsenal falter in their bid to win their first Premier League title since 2004, while they were eliminated from the Champions League at the last 16 stage for the sixth successive season. And then they missed the chance to win the FA Cup for a third year in a row with defeat against Watford.
Protests have taken place at the Emirates, with a growing amount of fans believing it is time for change.
The victory over West Brom last week showed a sparse home crowd, possibly due to the scheduling of the game, but reportedly down to fans’ frustrations. And Sunday’s goalless draw at Sunderland – where they were fortunate to leave the Stadium of Light with a point – highlighted further problems throughout the team.
Morgan told Drivetime: “I’ve had to deal with Arsenal fans telling me I’m an idiot, that Wenger’s a genius, that [Olivier] Giroud’s the best striker in the world and here we are – same old, same old!
“Whether it’s Leicester or Tottenham who end up champions, where does that leave every excuse that Arsene Wenger’s given us for ten years at Arsenal, for why we have failed to win the Premier League and Champions League?
“What about all those excuses – the stadium, the money, the fact Chelsea, United and these other teams have wealthy owners, ignoring the fact we have one, and so on?
“Every excuse we have had for the last decade has now been blown apart because we have two teams [above us] who don’t have superstars, don’t have buckets of cash, don’t have fancy new stadiums. What they have is unbelievable team spirit, brilliant desire, great hunger and a will to win.
“I haven’t seen that in Arsenal’s team now for the last decade.
“Put aside everything else. Rebuilding for a decade – he’s now built for the future and it’s failed. So he HAS TO GO!”
As much as journalist Morgan would like to see the Frenchman’s reign at the club come to an end, he believes they have missed the opportunity to replace him with a high-quality manager on a number of occasions.
He continued: “I came on your show and said Jurgen Klopp would be brilliant for us – we can see how brilliant that guy is now at Liverpool. He will transform them.
“[Pep] Guardiola – I was told on good authority – wanted to come to Arsenal with Thierry Henry as his number two but Wenger refused to move aside. So we’ve had great managers available, but we’ve decided no!”
With the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City falling off the pace in their bid for the Premier League trophy this season, it appeared to be Arsenal’s year going into 2016. With Mesut Ozil racking up assists, Alexis Sanchez and Giroud firing, it looked like the Gunners could actually end their title exile.
“This HAD to be our season and what happened? We got beat by Leicester and Tottenham.
“I just don’t see how any self-respecting Arsenal fan can defend Wenger for any longer. Who’s going to make him go? He’s got no intention of leaving, he’s [pocketing] £8m-a-year to come third or fourth for 12 consecutive years, and to be kicked out of the Champions League last 16 stage now for six consecutive years.
“Stan Kroenke, our billionaire owner, lives in Los Angeles where he’s formed an NFL franchise and he’s completely pre-occupied with that. He has no record of winning things with other sports franchises – he’s quite happy for Arsenal to continue to fail and qualify for Champions League football. We are now trapped in this kind of Groundhog Day hell that has no end!
“The only way it ends for me is if Wenger – a man I’ve always respected – looks in the mirror and says to himself ‘is what I’m doing now to the benefit of Arsenal Football Club or to the benefit of my wallet and to Arsene FC?’ – which is what I think Wenger for years has mistakenly thought this club is.
“If he does that and falls on his sword, I will have great respect for him.
“If he limps on for another season, [with] another contract, I think his legacy will be destroyed.”