Arsenal have received some great news with manager Arsene Wenger hinting he'll sign a new contract after 2014. Despite a tough season, Wenger is still a world class coach and the right man to lead Arsenal back to trophies.
The Gunners' boss has brushed off rumors linking him with a move to uber-rich French giants Paris Saint-Germain. Wenger is quoted in The London Evening Standard reaffirming his commitment to Arsenal and his belief the Gunners are primed for a revival.
For many such a revival is long overdue after eight trophyless seasons, the last two of which have been particularly brutal. Since moving from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal have gradually settled into a cycle of sustained mediocrity.
The life source of that cycle has been an inability to compete in the transfer market and a penchant for behaving like a selling club. Wenger hasn't been able to match the spending power of the likes of Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs.
He's also been powerless to stop several stars making an annual exodus from North London. Since 2008, Arsenal have lost Mathieu Flamini, Aleksandr Hleb, Emmanuel Adebayor, Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie.
They have been others, but those six are arguably the ones Wenger would love to have kept. They formed the spine of the two best teams he's had since the move from Highbury.
The financial disparity between Arsenal and their rivals forced the Frenchman to sell key assets before they had fulfilled their potential for the Gunners.
The last two seasons have been about picking up the pieces. Yet despite being almost another galaxy away from true title contention, Wenger has still shown why Arsenal need him.
After losing Fabregas and Nasri in the summer of 2011, and enduring an 8-2 humiliation at the hands of Manchester United, he still engineered a third place finish.
That was made possible mostly by the brilliance of van Persie. Losing him to United this summer seemed like a death knell for Arsenal's top four hopes.
Yet Wenger calmly regrouped. He brought in Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, along with Spanish creative ace Santi Cazorla.
However, the transition to life without van Persie hasn't been smooth. Defeats in both domestic cups to lower-league opposition, seemed to put Wenger and Arsenal on the brink.
A failure to secure even one win against Chelsea, United or Manchester City, offered the most vivid reminder of how far behind the best Arsenal have fallen.
Yet despite all that, Wenger still has Arsenal fourth and on the brink of securing UEFA Champions League football for a 16th-straight year.
That's an awesome record of consistency too often sneeringly dismissed by Wenger's critics. Orchestrating nearly two decades of participation in Europe's premier club competition says a lot about Arsenal's manager.
It shows he not only knows how to weather storms, but he also knows exactly when and how to regenerate his teams.
After that 8-2 drubbing at Old Trafford left Arsenal with one point from three games, Wenger knew experience and authority would be needed to right the ship.
So he brought in veterans Per Mertesacker and Mikel Arteta. Those moves were wrongly interpreted as panic buys.
They were in fact necessary signings made by a manager acknowledging the need to waver from his otherwise unimpeachable faith in youth.
When van Persie manipulated his way out, Wenger didn't seek a like-for-like replacement for the prolific Dutchman. Players with that level of quality aren't easy to find.
Instead Wenger opted for bullish French powerhouse Giroud. He offered a different kind of outlet. To supplement his new-look forward line, Wenger signed Cazorla to add extra creativity and goal threat from midfield.
Cazorla has rewarded that judgment with 12 league goals. While the jury may still be out on Giroud and Podolski, Arsenal have scored 99 goals in 50 matches this season.
Wenger has molded and re-molded his team on the fly for the past two seasons. Meanwhile his main rivals have operated on a financial plain far above his means.
Just by keeping Arsenal in the top four under these circumstances, Wenger performs a minor miracle. There are consistent rumors that he could finally have the fiscal muscle to compete this summer.
If the supposed £70 million is available, there's nobody better to spend it than Wenger. Even after a near-decade of frustration, Arsenal are lucky their master team-builder apparently isn't ready to walk away just yet.685594