Has Arsene Wenger fallen out of love with the job of managing Arsenal?

Arsene Wenger has worn the expression of a deeply troubled man for much of the season.

It goes deeper than being solved by one good win or being in a mood because of a few bad results.

In fact, it leaves you wondering whether the Arsenal manager is enjoying his job any more.

Wenger is undoubtedly feeling the pressure of needing to win a trophy and that, more than from anywhere else, comes from the fans who have worshipped him up until now.

Suddenly, Wenger's management is being questioned by his captain and the fans, and that undoubtedly has a knock-on effect because the Arsenal board want trophies as well.

Credit to Cesc Fabregas. His very straightforward question of whether the club wants trophies or to develop players only echoes what many Arsenal fans are thinking.

They want a few more proven players, big names and quality to guide the younger players. But at the same time, most fans I know want Wenger to stay. And I still maintain he's the best man for the job.

Trouble is, he probably doesn't feel wanted in the way he used to or appreciated as the club's best manager of all time.

All this only serves to do one thing: really annoy the manager.

Wenger is stubborn, doesn't like being told how he should do his job and hates the fact that his youth policy is, ultimately, not working because Arsenal haven't won a trophy in six years.

The club had a catastrophic 13 days when they lost the Carling Cup final, crashed out of the Champions League and the FA Cup.

That left their season in serious danger with only the title to play for. Now, if they can catch Manchester United then it will be an incredible season.

But even then, you wonder whether the old Wenger will return.

He seems fed-up, frustrated and, if it was any other manager, you'd begin to wonder if he felt like calling it a day.

Wenger is under contract until 2014, has always insisted he honours contracts and wants to see out the transitional period of moving from Highbury to the Emirates as he, himself, helped design the club's stadium and training ground.

His love affair with Arsenal is so intertwined that even his name is strikingly similar to the club's. But with all the bitching, disappointments and expectations, is his love of the job fading?

His love of the club will never die, but the job seems to have got him down.

Certainly, Wenger's relationship with the press has never been so bad.

I got a tweet yesterday asking me why the British press (presumably from overseas) was targeting Wenger.

Funnily enough, that tweeter didn't get in touch during the 2003-04 Invincibles season to ask why the press had singled out Wenger for praise.

During bad times, people forget the souvenir editions, posters and tributes of the good times.

This is not a press campaign.

It frustrates me to hear Arsenal fans say the media is anti-Arsenal or doesn't like Wenger.

It comes down to perception. I've said this before, but some of the London press think the Merseyside press were soft on Rafa Benitez. The Merseyside press think the London press are soft on Wenger.

Fans tend to gloss over praise but remember the one line of negativity. That's how football works.

Wenger has certainly seized on that one line this season.

There's been a few stories he'd not liked and coverage that he's not cared for. As a result, he's scaled back on media access this season.

Whereas, in the past, the newspaper journalists have a chat with him in a separate room, maybe a bit of banter on anything from holidays to politics, we see him in a rushed huddle.

Has it impacted on the coverage?

The biggest factor will always be results. Win games and silverware and you get praise. But if you're courteous, polite, make time and are friendly to people then generally you get it back. That's the same in any walk of life.

Look at Harry Redknapp. Everyone says he's a media darling. Why is that? It's because he makes time, does every press conference and is very cute with the media.

Take this week: Redknapp does a press conference and gets good coverage. Wenger doesn't, so the papers use a Fabregas interview that ran in a Spanish magazine.

Of course, we would have used the Fabregas quotes anyway, but they were in circulation early enough for his words to be put to Wenger on Tuesday afternoon, for the manager to seize the initiative and answer back, to turn it into a positive.

A golden chance missed.

Up until the last season or so, Wenger would have taken those questions, laughed as the quotes were read to him and made a brilliant quip back. This season, he would probably have scowled.

But he didn't do a press conference, so we'll never know for certain.

And before anyone says he doesn't like the way he's been quizzed recently by the media, the questions only reflect what the fans have been saying and thinking.

(On a side issue, I find it staggering that clubs take millions in TV money - Sky and the rest have transformed football - and yet get away with not promoting games, let alone big games.)

But this is not about Wenger and the press. It's relevant because I see him up close and see what he's like. And he's not happy.

If he's not happy, then it's hard to get a positive message across to the fans in the media and, more importantly, his players.

Things are certain to change at Arsenal this summer, just as they have at boardroom level with Stan Kroenke becoming the majority shareholder.

Wenger looks likely to be losing his number two Pat Rice. That will bring about change.

And there will certainly be changes in the playing staff. Out go the likes of Manuel Almunia, Emmanuel Eboue (dumped completely from the squad at Spurs), Carlos Vela and Denilson. The likes of Nicklas Bendtner, Gael Clichy, Abou Diaby and even Andrey Arshavin could all go for the right deal.

Fabregas will again be courted by Barcelona. Forget the sparring and denials, we know it'll happen. Whether Fabregas stays or not, Samir Nasri will - a five-year deal has been shaken on and he seems to be a very honourable man.

But where Arsenal go next depends on who comes in. Will Wenger take the plunge and buy big? If he does, that will be some departure. And it will probably be done against his better judgement.

There will surely come a point when Wenger finally admits he's not enjoying the job, and management is hard enough without doing it when your love of the game has gone.

Hopefully, that point will not come any time soon, because Arsenal will miss him when he's gone.

And hopefully he will also rediscover his love of the job soon, because football is poorer without the Wenger that many of us used to know and still admire.

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