London (AFP) – Arsenal legend Ian Wright believes Arsene Wenger will quit the Premier League club at the end of the season.
Wenger is out of contract in the summer and the Gunners boss has yet to agree a new deal amid growing anger among Arsenal fans at the team’s failure to mount a strong title challenge.
Arsenal are trailing 12 points behind leaders Chelsea following a damaging 3-1 defeat at their London rivals last weekend.
It is 13 years since Wenger last led Arsenal to the English title and some supporters believe it is time for him to go.
Wright, who played under Wenger from 1996 to 1998, had dinner with the 67-year-old on Thursday and revealed the end could be in sight after 21 years with the north Londoners.
“I was with the boss last night, and if I’m going to be totally honest, I get the impression that that’s it,” Wright told BBC Radio 5 live on Friday.
“I was with him for a few hours. He didn’t say to me, ‘I’m leaving at the end of the season’, but I get the impression, looking at him, that that’s it.
“He actually mentioned when we were talking that he’s coming to the end. I’ve never heard him say that.”
Wenger has won three Premier League titles and six FA Cup since arriving at Arsenal in 1996.
But Arsenal sit fourth in the Premier League table and host Hull on Saturday looking to avoid a third successive defeat.
Wenger took a swipe at Arsenal’s disgruntled fans this week when he suggested they should follow the example set by supporters of north London rivals Tottenham, who remained loyal after their failed title bid last season.
– Winded –
It remains to be seen if Wright’s claim that Wenger may be in the final months of his reign proves accurate, but, asked about the changes he has seen in the Frenchman, the former England star said: “On different things we were talking about, (he looked) full of life, you can see he’s switched on – just a wonderful, articulate man, a lovely guy.
“You just feel, you know when someone… he looks winded. He looks like someone’s just whopped him in the stomach. He’s lost all his wind.
“I feel someone’s going to ask me, ‘Do you think he’ll go at the end of the season?’. I would say, ‘Just judging now… I think he will’.”
Wright, Arsenal’s record goalscorer until he was surpassed by Thierry Henry, believes the players have let Wenger down in recent campaigns.
“When he came into our dressing room in ’96 it was refreshing to have that kind of management style – he wasn’t shouting, he wasn’t screaming,” Wright said.
“We were a dressing room that was self-motivating, with a manager that we’d realised treated you like adults in the work you’re trying to do.
“I believe that dressing room could deal with a manager with that passive management style. The teams he’s built, they’ve taken his kindness for weakness.”