Wenger has proven he is no longer the man Arsenal need to lead the team and should move aside for a new man to take the team forward
It has been a pretty bad week for Arsenal and their manager Arsene Wenger. With the AGM taking place after two losses, it was never going to be good for the board and the manager. Yet it was not just the losses, yet the manner of those performances which should worry Arsenal fans. With more talk from Gazidis and Wenger today promising success in a few years, Arsenal fans should seriously consider if these two men are right for the club.
Arsenal is a common topic on The Whitehouse Address. Wenger is a fascinating subject. If Arsenal do not win a trophy this season, it would have been eight years since they last tasted success and lifted a trophy. For many sides who regard themselves as a “top side”, surely this is too long and deemed a period of failure. Yet for Arsenal and their manager Wenger, questions are not asked of his lack of achievement.
Since Wenger arrived at the club there has been success, growth and quality football. Now many will argue that Arsenal’s decision to build a new stadium has hampered the finances of the club and made them weaker in terms of their ability to challenge Europe’s top sides. It is a fair argument and the decision to build the Emirates apparently was a short term loss in order to secure the long term financial stability of the club.
Yet to say Arsenal have not spent money is ludicrous, as this article shows, Arsenal have spent much money, yet on average players. The truth is Wenger’s philosophy has been flawed for many years. The decision to develop a team of young players who they can develop or buy for cheap, was Wenger’s grand plan when the money was being ploughed into the Emirates. The idea was a failure. Each season Arsenal have lost experienced players, those who knew what it was like to win trophies and be competitive and replaced them with inexperience and naivety.
The young team of Wenger’s played nice football yet lacked the experience and mental strength to genuinely challenge for trophies. And of course, the longer it went on, the more his star players started desiring more, they wanted to actually win things. And they believed that at Arsenal, under Wenger, they would not do so. The exodus of star talent from Arsenal in the past eight years has been quite amazing. Yet, Wenger has weaved his propaganda machine and stressed patience was key. For years he has promised that Arsenal will be a force again, it just needs time, yet it never materialises.
Arsenal are nowhere near capable of challenging
Quite simply, this hope has become nothing but a dream and a fallacy. Arsenal lack the qualities in ALL positions to compete with the best sides in England and in Europe. The gap between them and the Manchester sides is immense, last season they finished 19 points off the top! And this season has the potential to be much bigger if recent form is to go on.
Wenger has professed that gaining Champions League qualification should be regarded as a trophy and be seen as success. One can understand why he believes this; the financial rewards and the appeal for players to play for a Champions League side are essential. Much more so than a League Cup win or even FA Cup success. Yet will Arsenal achieve this position this season? Last season the 3rd place finish appeared very fortunate. A poor end to the campaign by Spurs and Chelsea's down and up season meant Arsenal scraped through and got their sacred Champions League spot. It kept the wolves from the Wenge's door.
However, for all the financial rewards that the Champions League brings, for all the revenue that the Emirates brings in each week and with next seasons increase in TV revenue, Arsenal’s cash balance should be very healthy. Now Ivan Gazidis has said that in two years time Arsenal will be in a position to challenge the top sides due to new commercial deals for the club and stadium. Thus, the argument is that in two years time, Arsenal will be buying the top players, spending the big money and improving the quality of the team and challenge for titles. Yet will it mean this?
The King has many flaws & his servants are not speaking up
Now for me I do not doubt who runs the club; it is not Hill-Wood, not Groenke, or Gazidis. It is Arsene Wenger. He has built his kingdom since he arrived and is very much the King of the kingdom.
He has instilled a philosophy, built a new stadium and laid down a financial blueprint for the club to be successful (financially). However, Wenger has many flaws. He is too stubborn about his style, he is too loyal to very poor players and importantly is poor tactically with his team.
When Gazidis talks about Arsenal having money to spend, I believe him. It would be amazing if they didn’t considering the revenues and player sales. So it comes down to the manager, his decision making and willingness to bring in genuine talent.
Wenger appears more suited to be Arsenal’s Director of Football, who brings in the best profit when he sells his players and manages to buy talented players for good prices (Cazorla at £17m a great example). However, although Wenger is showing talent in the transfer market, he is clearly not working on the players he brings in well enough, is he working on the team and how they set up?
Theo Walcott is the ideal example. At 23 years old, after seven years at the club, Walcott has shown little or no improvement as a player since he arrived at the club as a promising teenager. He has been played out of position, shown only flashes of brilliance and yet clearly lacks what is required to become the “next Henry”. He appears deemed surplus to requirements at the Emirates. This is good for Walcott, he needs a good coach who can make him into an effective player. With Wenger Walcott will not improve. Surely this is a serious concern to the fans?
The same can be said for another young player in Aaron Ramsay. And it is not just young players; a talented Arshavin arrived with much hype on the back of a very good performances for both club and country in 2008. However, Wenger failed to get the best out of a player with clear talent and ability. There appears a trend of players coming to Arsenal and effectively ending their careers there. Is this what Wenger professes as "developing" talent?
A change required for Arsenal to succeed
The truth is that if Arsenal do have money, should fans trust Wenger to bring the players in? Perhaps the best role for Wenger would be in the Director of Football role, or even replace his own man Gazidis as CEO.
What is evident is that Wenger as a coach and manager of the team is not good enough for Arsenal to push on further.
It will not be easy to move Wenger on, as I said previously, he effectively runs the club, which is perhaps why Usmanovhas not been allowed to invest further. It would make Wenger’s role possibly insecure.
Yet a sense of insecurity is what is needed! Wenger knows his job is safe, the players appear to know that the expectation is to finish in the top four, so where is the motivation? Where is the desire to challenge the top sides? It appears the club is in a period of contentment, as long as they are in the Champions League and making money, this is regarded as adequate. This mentality is unfair on the fans.
In my opinion Wenger needs to move on and allow a new coach to come in and push the side on. If there will be money available, then Arsenal will need to bring in the talent required to make them a force again. In my opinion there are two managers which would show an intent on Arsenal’s part as being serious about challenging for title and Champions League.
These two men are Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp. Guardiola’s style and persona suits Arsenal perfectly, if Arsenal could offer Klopp money and ambition which unfortunately Dortmund cannot, then could that appeal to him, however he may be too loyal to Dortmund and wish to continue the work he has done there.
What is key is that both of these men have the ability to get the best from their players, to produce a cohesive team and importantly are both tactically excellent. If Arsenal are serious about challenging the big boys in the coming years then they need to prove it by replacing Wenger with a manager of winning trophies in the modern game.