I am fed up with the Wenger in vs. Wenger out debate.
Stan Kroenke controls the club not the fans and thankfully he does. A
rsene Wenger may have his faults but overall he has been a phenomenal manager. I am not defending his actions in the transfer market or his tactical decisions but given Arsenal’s circumstance over the last 10 years, Wenger has kept the club competitive.
Arsene Wenger did not promise Arsenal fans instant success from the building of the Emirates stadium. The board, at the time, assured fans of cheaper tickets and a process that would not affect the quality on the pitch. Instead the Emirates has been a 10-year tax on the club and the most affected has been Arsene Wenger.
Wenger did not have the opportunity to invest in the quality of players required to beat the best in Europe. Given the conditions, Wenger outperformed his resources. I do not believe for one minute that annually qualifying for the Champions League should be considered a trophy but given Arsenal’s inability to financially compete Wenger has done a fantastic job. I cannot imagine how far the club would have fallen had Arsenal not made the Champions League year in, year out.
Last season, Arsenal finally had money to spend, but their lack of experience in the big money market shone through. The club needed a statement of intent and clawed to find an ambassador for their new financial regime. Throughout the window, the fans were promised a big signature. Arsenal needed a striker or a winger. Instead the club scrambled on the final day and signed Mesut Ozil – a number 10.
Tactically Arsenal did not need Ozil.
Santi Carzorla gave the club sufficient quality in the position, but Arsenal went through with the deal to appease fans and show the footballing world what they were capable of. Their decision reaped a return, and Arsenal won their first trophy in 10 years. Whether Ozil was actually beneficial or not is another debate, however I believe that his signature inspired the club to move forwards.
Last summer Arsenal spent £70million on players making them the seventh largest spender in Europe and breaking a club transfer window record. Except, so far, the club has had the worst start in decades, are currently stuck in a revolving injury crisis and look to have declined from last season.
Arsenal haven’t realised their full potential and some fans are calling for Wenger’s head.
Could you envision what would happen if Wenger was fired today? The chaos that would follow would be cataclysmic. Arsenal haven’t had a new manager for 18 years. Would Wenger’s loyal staff stay? What if Steve Bould and Boro Primorac left? Who would run the player training? Who would take over as caretaker manager as the board scramble to find a replacement? Who would the board eventually appoint?
Fans seem to be screaming Jürgen Klopp but I think this is clearly a desperate plea. This season it has been incredible to watch Borussia Dortmund’s decline. As of now Klopp’s side are sat at 17th in the Bundesliga. Arsenal are 6th. How can Arsenal fans possibly call for Wenger’s head when the replacement they crave is performing worse?
Other fans are calling for Pep Guardiola or Roberto Martinez. I would plea to fans to be realistic. Refurbishing Arsenal would be a mammoth task, whoever replaces Wenger would have to completely revamp old systems or risk replaying Wenger’s style of football. This would all have to be carried out while playing on average 2 games a week.
No successful manager would be willing to risk his reputation on such an impossible job. The club would be stuck with a second rate manager unable to make a real change.
Wenger is not going to be fired midway through the season. It is ludicrous to demand Wenger’s sacking right now, it would plunge the team even further down the league. There is no debate about it, Stan Kroenke would not dream of making such a fatal error. I am not supporting Wenger’s extreme form of autonomy, no manager should have the form of power that Wenger has, but unfortunately this is the Arsenal that Stan Kroenke inherited.
If Arsenal end this season without improving upon last year, Wenger will likely not be asked to step aside although given that Arsenal is a business you would have to question the board if that is the case. A manager cannot spend the kind of money Wenger has spent without progression, but he is making the club money and they repeatedly eat at the table of the elite in Europe. That cannot be all that matters to those in charge.
Right now Arsenal fans need to get behind their manager and their players; stop complaining on social media and protesting at games.
Have faith that Stan Kroenke and the board will do the right thing at the end of the season depending on how the campaign ends. If they don’t, then maybe you can scream and yell and demand for change.