While it is indeed surprising that the Arsenal manager has kept none at all of the mementos of any of his successes football, that does not mean the 67-year-old does not like to take a trip down memory lane.
It may not be widely reported – often because every time the subject comes up in national newspaper briefing it is cast aside as a “deviation” or a “repetition” – but Wenger has no hesitation in recalling the achievement he feels trumps all others.
At the same time, the Invincible year has become the greatest glory of Arsenal’s history and the largest albatross around the neck of its future.
After Wenger had led his side through a whole top flight campaign unbeaten – a feat last achieved by Preston in the very first year of the old Football League 115 years earlier, how could anybody expect him to improve on footballing nirvana.
As a result, “getting better” no longer became the mandate. Maintaining standards instead became the goal set at the start of each season. And Wenger has been remarkably good at that.
The last time Arsene Wenger allowed his contract to run down was in 2014 ahead of the FA Cup final
Arsene Wenger treasures the Invincibles year over any trophy he has won
So long finishing in third or fourth spot; so long exiting the Champions League at the first knockout round. In Arsene they could trust… to keep Arsenal in with the big boys at least, even if to some fans those standards were not set high enough.
Yet now, even those uninspiring targets have not been met and finally Wenger’s side has been consigned to the wilderness of the Europa League.
That changes the dynamic somewhat.
The last time Wenger allowed his contract to run down completely to the final game of the season was in 2014. Then the criticism – still soft-spoken at that stage – was that Arsenal had not won anything for nine seasons. Nine! Again, that final game was an FA Cup final. If Kieran Gibbs had not headed off the line from Alex Bruce to prevent Hull City taking a 3-0 lead, who knows what might have happened.
As it was, Aaron Ramsey’s goal in extra time ended the drought and, although Wenger may since have misplaced the medal, he knew exactly where his pen was.
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Stormzy gig, Amsterdam
The ink was dry on a new three-year contract just 13 days later.
That is the same deal which is currently being run down by both parties – the two parties, ironically, who have always been most convinced that Wenger should remain.
While fans expressed concerns, in the autumn the board were certainly pleased enough and when Arsenal beat Chelsea 3-0 to leap-frog them in the table, a quick photo-opportunity with chief executive Ivan Gazidis and Wenger and the speculation could have been ended for another couple of seasons.
As it is, we arrive at today.
Wenger waited until the last day of the Premier League season to hint at dark forces that had made the Emirates a “horrendous psychological environment” during February and March but refused to elaborate on what they were.
Certainly it hints at deeper-rooted problems than a simple FA Cup triumph can solve.
Arsenal will be hoping to end the season on a high in the FA Cup final
Formally, the club maintain the deliberately vague line that a board meeting at an unspecified time next week will allow the board and Wenger to come to a mutual decision which will be announced at an appropriate time.
Indications are, though, that a two-year deal is all but on the table, Wenger has indicated that he wants to carry on in management and the only unknown is whether the Frenchman may suddenly decide that, as far as Arsenal are concerned, enough is enough.
Defeat tomorrow is more likely to drive him towards carrying on with unfinished business – leaving the club proudly in a place the next incumbent would want to find it.
But win? One thing is for certain, there will be none of Jose Mourinho’s midweek histrionics at claiming another bauble for his CV.
However, for once he might have a very clear idea of what Arsenal can do with the 16th winner’s medal he has provided them in the past 21 years.