The Gunners will see Dortmund’s struggles as proof that they should stick with the Frenchman.
There was a strange atmosphere surrounding last week’s Champions League tie between Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund, with the narrative that surrounded the game being of a dead manager walking, a manager whose dreadful start to the season would come under even more scrutiny as he shared a touchline with the man hotly tipped , and almost universally desired by supporters, to fill his shoes.
The irony was that the man under pressure wasn’t Jurgen Klopp, who had described the competition in which Dortmund had a 100% record before a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal as relief from the Bundesliga, despite the fact that his side are embroiled in what now has to be considered as a relegation battle. It would get worse for Klopp, with defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt yesterday leaving his side bottom of the German top flight.
It is, of course, ridiculous to hammer Klopp, a man who has built Dortmund up from a middling Bundesliga side to one who have won trophies and flourished as a genuine European force, coming tantalisingly close to lifting the Champions League against fierce rivals Bayern Munich at Wembley two years ago.
But it is still strange that he was viewed as a Premier League star in waiting on his arrival in North London, the club’s dreadful domestic form largely swept under the carpet as the microscope was put on a man who has only led his side to an underwhelming start to the campaign.
The fact is that the self destruction of Klopp’s side this season underlines why Arsenal can’t take the risk of sacking Arsene Wenger in the hope of a short term shot in the arm – consistency is crucial and, as a club, Arsenal cannot afford a season like the one that Dortmund are enduring.
For all of his faults, Wenger is the reason why the Gunners haven’t had one season where they have collapsed and fallen out of the top four during his time at the club. As Liverpool and Tottenham have shown, it is a difficult club to break back into and the financial reality of the Premier League is that they need to be there.
When Wenger does decided that it is time to move on, inevitably on his own terms, then it will be time for Arsenal to take a risk on an exciting manager such as Klopp or Diego Simeone who have built something at a smaller, less fashionable club. But the grass isn’t always greener and, when it comes to pushing Wenger rather than letting him decide his own fate, it will prove to be a risk that they aren’t willing to take.