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Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright has called on struggling manager Arsene Wenger to step down as reports suggest succession planning at the club has already begun.
The Frenchman, under contract at the Emirates until 2019, is under increasing pressure after his team’s abject display in Sunday’s 3-0 League Cup defeat against Manchester City — their sixth loss in 12 games this year.
Arsenal are ten points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham in the Premier League and look likely to miss out on Champions League football for the second consecutive season.
“There are excuses (from Wenger) and he is mollycoddling a team,” Wright told BBC radio.
“Whether he stays at the end of this season, I could not make a case. I am not sure anyone can. This development of mediocrity has to be arrested.”
Wright also had harsh words for American owner Stan Kroenke.
“The owner has to take a lot of blame for this,” he said. “Kroenke does not care. If he cared, Wenger would not have got a two-year deal.
“Everyone else can start to see that is it getting to a point where Wenger needs to go. The owner has to be here, find out what is happening, how is this working, what are we going to do, how are we going to get back to where the fans want us to be.
“The fans have been saying it for years but no-one is paying any attention to them. The owner has not done anything and has given Wenger carte blanche to carry on.”
Wright’s comments follow stinging assessments from the club’s record goalscorer Thierry Henry and former Manchester United and England defender Gary Neville, who labelled Arsenal’s performance against City “spineless”.
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