Newcastle legend Alan Shearer believes that Arsenal handing Arsene Wenger a new, two-year deal back in May sent the message to fans and the players that failure doesn’t matter.
Wenger hasn’t won the Premier League title for 13 years. Therefore, Arsenal offering him a new deal at the end of last season felt like the club were rewarding failure, which is the wrong message to be sending the fans and players, Shearer says.
“By giving Arsene Wenger a new contract in the summer it was made clear to the players and the fans that failure to win the title over the last 13 years doesn’t matter,” the ex-striker wrote for the Sun.
“Because that is what Arsenal lacks and has done for some time now, any hunger.
“They have a manager who put together one of the most awesome sides in Premier League history in the late nineties early 2000’s but with recent sides he hasn’t been able to recapture the winning formula-players with desire, who want to fight until the final whistle, who love the shirt as much as their fans do.
“Wenger chose to stay in the summer when he could have left the club with plaudits ringing in his ears.
“To have beaten Champions Chelsea in an FA Cup final and so landing the competition for a third time in four years provided the perfect opportunity for him to say thank you and good bye last May.
“He didn’t take it, and you knew because of the frustration among some of the fans that Arsenal were only ever going to be one bad result away from a perceived crisis.”
As much as I hate to agree with Shearer, and I usually don’t, this time he has a point.
By rewarding Wenger with a new deal despite the Frenchman only winning the FA Cup three times in a 13-year period, it tells the fans that the board don’t really care about big trophies. It also sends a message to the players that fifth place is good enough. And while I’d be worried if our players did have that mindset since they’re supposed to be professional athletes, there’s definitely something up.
It also explains why some are jumping ship.
Despite publicly supporting the manager, like they were supposed to, perhaps the squad expected Wenger to leave and Arsenal to undergo a makeover during the summer. The fact that everything’s stayed the same probably isn’t the best motivation.