Arsene Wenger to Leave Arsenal: The Five-Year Principle

Arsene Wenger to Leave Arsenal: The Five-Year Principle

Arsene Wenger is leaving Arsenal, the English football club, at the end of the season. It should not be news. If you check most sports in Europe and United States, a manager typically wins the right medals within the first five years of joining a club. Where you cannot win the medal within five years [with largely same three key players], your chance drops significantly. And if you coach and have three consecutive bad seasons, your chance of recovering drops to less than 10%. Largely, there is a paralysis that follows non-winning managers after five years.

Wenger, who has come under increasing pressure as a result of Arsenal’s poor Premier League record in recent seasons, announced that he would be leaving the club in an emotional statement on the club’s official website:

” After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season. I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years.”

“I managed the club with full commitment and integrity,” the statement continued. “I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special.

“I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. My love and support for ever.”

Arsene Wenger is a successful manager in the English football league. But he is yet to experience a European glory. On that front, he failed. It is not evident that keeping him longer would change that outcome. His best chance of winning Champions League was within the first five years he joined Arsenal.

Wenger was appointed as Arsenal manager in 1996 and has won three Premier League titles and a record seven FA Cups during his time in charge of the club. A European trophy has always eluded him but Arsenal are in the semi-finals of the Europa League, where they face Atletico Madrid

In American football, if a coach joins and cannot win anything within five years, FIRE him. He would likely not win anything for extra ten years. In the real football (the American soccer), that also follows [sure, there are exceptions but they are statistically insignificant]. When Wenger could not win Champions League a decade ago, it was clear that was gone for him, in Arsenal.  They could have removed him long ago.

Why is this trajectory? Football is a process. It is a game of strategy. There is a normalized factor that a coach’s strategy becomes evident with a team within five years. So, within five years ago, if that is not working through medals, it will lose potency. And when you add that opponents will possibly master it after five years, the chance of success drops further. So, after five years, a poor coach will not win anything with the same club, using largely the same set of three key players.

We wish Wenger good luck. I expect him to land in La Liga as a coach. He will likely do well there. He will get his three key players and if he does not win Champions League within five years, the team should also know that he would not likely do it in future, in that club.

Nothing much; it is just a mere observation [nothing besides it]. The greatest teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Bayern  Munich follow a similar rule (typically 3-4 years where if you cannot win Champions League, they fire you as a coach).


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