Paul Merson believes Arsene Wenger would not have boldly claimed that he will still be in work next season if he did not have a “big job” lined up.
The Frenchman remains at the Arsenal helm for now, a position he has now held for over 20 years.
He is, however, facing the toughest test of his reign to date, with calls for him to step aside growing in intensity ahead of the summer.
Wenger has entered the final few months of his current contract, so could be out of work at the end of the season.
No indication has been offered by either side of potential discussions as to whether fresh terms will be forthcoming, with the future very much up in the air at Emirates Stadium.
Wenger has, however, already announced that he will be coaching somewhere in 2017-18, with Merson of the opinion that he must have a back-up plan in place.
The former Gunners forward told Sky Sports: “He’s put it into Arsenal’s court now by saying ‘I’ll be managing anyway’, and he will.
“There’s no way his agent, if he’s got an agent, wouldn’t have been told he’s got a job somewhere because you wouldn’t turn around and say what he’s just said. You couldn’t, because that could embarrass you quite a lot if you turn around and go, ‘Well, I’ll definitely be managing next season’.
“You know he’s been told he’s got a job next season and I bet you a bottom dollar it’ll be a big job.”
While speculation has already began to circle regarding possible replacements for Wenger, Merson believes owners that like to shun the limelight would rather see the 67-year-old sign a new deal and continue to deflect attention away from their efforts.
He added: “You wouldn’t sack Arsene Wenger [for not winning titles or progressing in the Champions League], you wouldn’t even let him go. He’s making them money. He’s making them bundles.
“They will want him to stay, of course they will want him to stay.
“Who takes all the stick? They never get a mention, the owners. He’s the one left to hang out to dry.
“They’d love him to be there and so would all the players because he’s the one who gets the blame. The players have not got one bit of stick in this.”