A group of fans labelling themselves the No New Contract Movement staged their latest protest ahead of Sunday’s 2-2 draw against Manchester City, parking a van outside the Emirates proclaiming “In Arsene We Rust”.
Supporters are demanding that Arsenal withdraw their offer of a new two-year contract to Wenger, who has won three Premier League titles and six FA Cups during his 20 years at the club.
Gilberto was among those to win the league under the Frenchman and was a key player in the 2003-04 Invincibles who went through the season undefeated on their way to the title. For that unique achievement and his other achievements at the club the former Brazil international believes Wenger deserves more respect.
“He is someone who changed Arsenal’s history, who put them on a different level in terms of philosophy and methodology,” Gilberto told ESPN Brasil. “When he arrived, there wasn’t even a proper training centre, and today there’s a great training centre.
“At the moment he is living under pressure that is very delicate. There are many fans wanting to kick him out of the club. I find it a little bit ungrateful, in a way, because people forget what he did, where he took the club from.
“Honestly, from my perspective, I’d like him to stay, at least for another year. Even if it was a last year, but with something planned to value everything he did, the legacy he’s leaving for the club.”
Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis addressed fan discontent at a quarterly fans forum ahead of Sunday’s game, reiterating chairman Sir Chips Keswick’s claim last month that a decision over Wenger’s new contract would be “mutual” between manager and club.