A London cabbie picked me up one day last week and, inevitably, the conversation turned to football.
He was an Arsenal fan, he told me, so I asked him: “Are you In or Out?”
“I’m Out,” he said. “But I struggle to admit it. And I just can’t bring myself to write it on social media because he’ll always be the man who gave us the Invincibles.”
That, in a nutshell, is the story at the Emirates – history is the only thing keeping Arsene Wenger in a job.
It’s because he was the man who brought in Thierry Henry and Co – not because he can win another title.
I don’t think he would win a title in France or Spain these days, either.
He might win the odd cup, but, come on, this is Arsenal, the team which set the template in the early 2000s, but have back-pedalled double-quick.
Wenger is no longer the manager he was and it’s sad to see because he’s not winning anything.
In fact, it’s almost like the slow death of a beloved uncle.
Many of the Gooners I speak to are starting to realise – if they haven’t already – that they’re not going to win anything major again with him.
And most of them are of the opinion: “Thanks, but can you go upstairs and get on the board now please?”
They look at Pep Guardiola and see the manager for today and tomorrow, at Jose Mourinho and see the manager for today and, perhaps, yesterday.
And then they look at Wenger and see the man for last year… maybe even further back. His players must see it, too, and if you were one of the top stars at the club, why would you want to stay while he’s in charge?
Don’t get me wrong, players such as Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil have been part of the problem as well.
But, if I were Sanchez, I’d be walking up the M6 to join either of the Manchester clubs.
He could go to Manchester United and try to close the gap at the top of the Premier League or go to Manchester City and, “Congratulations, you’ve won the title”.
The way both teams play, Sanchez could fit seamlessly into either of them.
Although whether or not he would fit into the City team from day one, with the attacking unit they’ve got, and given his form this season, that remains to be seen.
Would he put himself in that position where he has to fight for his place?
Perhaps, because the Chilean is a fighter.
Although he could well look at United and think, “They’re one of the world’s biggest clubs – if you make it here, you are a global superstar”.
That’s with the greatest respect to what Manchester City are trying to achieve.
I’m a massive fan of Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku.
But what United are missing is the tenacity and industry that Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus give City when they play.
So he’s more of a fit at United, but either would be a great move. I like Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but he has been disappointing at United, hasn’t he?
And would Arsenal want to sign him without United trying to sign Sanchez and making him part of any deal?
I’m not saying he couldn’t go to Arsenal and do well, but if they are getting United’s sloppy seconds, then that, in itself, tells you where they are.
They are off the pace as title contenders, they’re out of the FA Cup – the competition that has been Wenger’s insurance policy in recent seasons – and with the greatest of respect to sides like Ostersund, do any of the Gunners’ top stars really see the Europa League as the games they want to be playing in?
It’s symptomatic of where Arsenal are right now – and they 100 per cent have to get rid of Wenger in the summer for anything to change.