Arsene Wenger admitted that his Arsenal team are going backwards, with Germany manager Joachim Loew emerging as the favourite within the club to replace him in the summer.
Aside from their capitulation to Manchester City in the Premier League and Carabao Cup final last week, Arsenal are having to address familiar problems, with senior figures fearing Aaron Ramsey will leave when his contract runs out in 2019.
The club have begun identifying replacements and will have to sell the Wales midfielder this summer to avoid the situation they faced with Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. Both entered the last season of their contract without deals, meaning Sanchez left cheaply and Ozil earned a deal worth about £350,000 a week.
Wenger has admitted the the current state of the season looks bad but is ready for any end-of-season review of his job.
Asked whether this season is worse than last year, which in itself was the first in which Wenger had failed to finish in the top four, he said: ‘Yeah it is, because last year we won the cup and made 75 points. I don’t deny that. We analyse that at the end of the season and don’t worry. I can live with reality.’
It seems unlikely that Wenger will walk with one year left on his contract and previously he has always counted on the support of owner Stan Kroenke.
But with the owner’s son, Josh, 37, taking an increasingly visible role in the club, as exclusively revealed by The Mail on Sunday two weeks ago, and with chief executive Ivan Gazidis having reorganised the executives surrounding Wenger, it now appears that the manager is steadily losing support and look like being forced into a summer exit, barring a Europa League victory.