Arsene Wenger's “greatest gift” to Arsenal would be to identify his successor, according to Martin Keown, but the former Gunners man expects the manager to stay on regardless of the result of the FA Cup final.
The Frenchman has faced calls for his 21-year reign at the helm to be brought to a close this summer as his contract runs down.
A fifth-place finish and failure to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in his tenure has done little to aid his cause, but he does have the chance to claim silverware by beating Chelsea at Wembley.
Keown does not expect the outcome of that encounter to have any bearing on Wenger’s future but the former Gunners defender has called on the current boss to start clearing a path for the next man to take the hot-seat.
"This is a defining day for Arsene Wenger at Arsenal Football Club,” Keown wrote in the Daily Mail. "If he wins, Wenger will have won a record seventh FA Cup against a side that has been utterly dominant this season.
"Winning the Cup would be the perfect time to bow out, but I think it would reaffirm his belief that he can still do the job.
"I believe Wenger will stay even if Arsenal lose, but he will have to ask himself some searching questions.
"It may feel like he would be doing a holding job until another man comes in. The greatest gift Wenger can give to Arsenal is to help identify his successor.
"The club is like a family business being passed down through the generations. Wenger sees Arsenal as his family and will want to be part of the process to plan for the future."
Wenger first won the FA Cup in 1997-98, the same season that saw him claim a first Premier League title.
He has secured 15 trophies in total including Community Shield triumphs, but has been unable to bring the English top-flight crown back to north London since the ‘Invincibles’ campaign of 2003-04.