Arsene Wenger
Wenger is considering his options now the January window is open. Reuters

The latest in a long line of rather humiliating defeats and reverses for Arsenal may just, according to a Sunday Mirror report, have been the straw that broke the camel's back.

The 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Italian champions AC Milan, in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 game was bad enough. That, at least, Wenger could maybe pass off as being a defeat to one of the premier clubs in Europe... something Arsenal certainly are not.

The 2-0 defeat, over the weekend, to Sunderland is however a wholly different kettle of fish.

For one thing, this means that for the seventh (or eighth, we've lost count) year in a row, Arsenal will finish the season without a trophy. We should perhaps add the caveat that the second leg of the Champions League match is still to be played but, based on recent (and by that we mean over the last eight years) form, to bet that Wenger's boys can overturn a four goal deficit against a side so well-versed in the art of catenaccio, even if they are playing at home, is a little too much to hope for.

Therefore, assuming they are out of the Champions League, the defeat to Sunderland means they are out of the FA Cup... they are 17 points adrift of Manchester City, in the league, with only 13 games to go... they were beaten by City (1-0) in the Carling Cup... all of this adds up, once again, to another dismal season.

The least Arsenal can now hope for, realistically, is a fourth-place league finish and Champions League football next season... hardly the hallmark of a great side. Manchester United, who are going through a re-building phase themselves, have done supremely better.

The Sunday Mirror report indicates that the Arsenal hierarchy has (finally?) woken up to the reality of the situation. They have realised, or so it seems, there has to be a change in policy with regards to cost-cutting and frugality.

Accordingly, Wenger will reportedly be urged to spend big on transfers and, crucially, break the £100,000 per week self-imposed wage limit. The latter was particularly to blame for the exodus of both Cesc Fabregas (to Barcelona) and Samir Nasri (to Manchester City) and it is believed that the first beneficiary of the new policy will be van Persie, whose contract expires next summer and has reportedly been eyed by Spanish powerhouses Barcelona and Real Madrid. Needless to say, both of the latter clubs would afford him considerably more than what he currently makes at the Emirates.

Meanwhile, a Soccernet report states Wenger has a transfer kitty of some £50 million, which the board will insist be spent on recruiting the likes of Lille's Eden Hazard and Borussia Dortmund's Mario Goetze.

The big question, though, is if Wenger - who has a hugely notorious reputation about being stubbornly against spending money - will finally succumb to pressure and actually buy the quality of players the club so sorely needs.

Stay tuned to find out!

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