Is Arsene Wenger leaping from Arsenal’s boat before someone pushes him overboard?

The longtime Arsenal manager decided to step down at the end of this season because he feared the club might fire him this summer, The Guardian’s David Hytner reported Friday.

Wenger has insisted for months he wouldn’t break the two-year contract he signed last summer, but the disappointing season Arsenal is enduring — the Gunners currently sit sixth in the Premier League standings and are on course for their lowest finish in Wenger’s 21-plus year reign — appears to have put his job in real jeopardy.

Hydtner also added Wenger “felt the pressure from board-room level.” Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis this season has made a series of changes to the technical side of the club, an area over which Wenger previously enjoyed nearly total control.

Few people know for sure whether Gazidis’ succession planning originally had a 2018 start date or if Arsenal’s results this season prompted the club to push it ahead.¬†Wenger’s decision to leave¬†one year ahead of schedule suggests he read the proverbial writing on the wall. After all, resigning is better for a soccer manager’s reputation than being fired.

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