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An Ode To Arsene Wenger

The Telegraph

Arsene Wenger’s tenure with Arsenal is coming to a close.

For many Arsenal fans, myself included, Arsene Wenger is all that we know. It has been more than 20 years that Wenger has managed the Red and White from North London, and has brought the most success to the club in its history. It is likely that his time is coming to an end, but his value to the club should never be slighted.

Arsenal was lucky to have a charismatic man at the forefront of their organization. Players raved about Wenger as a character and many Gunners have been cited saying that Wenger was the reason why they came to the club. Over the years, Wenger has turned Arsenal into a destination club. Already housed in North London, Wenger took a big club to extraordinary levels, now as the fifth-most valuable club in the world, in part by expanding from Highbury to the Emirates in 2006. The Emirates remains one of the most state-of-the-art stadiums in the world, but for the expense to experience the Emirates live, a fourth-place finish shouldn’t cut it.

I think most people would agree: the current Arsenal squad is very good. Player by player, they are as good, if not better, than any team in the league. And it is still a mystery why a title has eluded them through this dry spell going all the way back to the Invincibles in 2003-04. Wenger was integral in the most impressive title team of all time in English Football (although the Chelsea team in 2004-05 may disagree).

So what are the current issues? Fans have blamed Wenger’s tactical arrangements, individual talent, and drive to win. Regardless of what the issue is, the results speak for themselves. Wenger has been unbelievably good, and remaining in Champions League qualification all these years is an incredible feat. However, Arsenal is due for a title, and a change might be necessary.

A season ticket at the Emirates will cost upwards of £1000, which is easily the most expensive in the EPL. Being located in London obviously contributes to this high expense, but you can understand why fans are restless. In the current age of football, money and titles are intertwined. Wenger has been criticized for not splashing the cash in the transfer market, but his latest patterns have shown a large increase in spending.

In the last five seasons, Arsenal has the third-highest net spending only behind the Manchester clubs. Wenger has also gone after world class players including Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, breaking the club transfer record. Just this season, Wenger has spent over £70 million on Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi. Wenger has adjusted spending habits after being notoriously pinged as the frugal spender looking for diamonds in the rough like Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, and Robin Van Persie. Unfortunately, results have become stale, and top four is no longer acceptable.

A team this good should have a title by now.

Arsenal has been unlucky in the Champions League draw, and yes, Arsenal has had domestic success in FA Cup of late. Even just this week, they were unlucky to draw Bayern and lose Koscielny to injury, but this 5-1 loss was the final tipping point to send Wenger overboard. Arsenal has missed out on many opportunities to achieve greatness. Just last season, Arsenal had a golden opportunity to win the title, with a weaker Leicester side the only team in the way.

 

A year ago, Danny Welbeck headed in a winner for the Gunners against Leicester, seemingly fueling a title run, but Arsenal fell quite short of Leicester. Arsenal has had many opportunities during the last 10 years to close in on titles, but they slip for some reason. Wenger has delivered success, but the one constant through all these years of coming up short is Wenger. 

For Wenger, it is the right time for him to move on. With unrest among the supporters and potential distress within the locker room, a changing of the guard may be in order. I still have absolute faith in Wenger to deliver success this season and in the future in his coaching endeavors.

Wenger may or may not retire from the sport completely, but suitors would be lining up left and right to bring Wenger on board. The English national team would be a great fit for Wenger, but going back to France would also suit him. 

As for Arsenal, many rumors have been stirring regarding Wenger’s replacements. Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel would be an interesting fit. Dortmund has grown a lot of youngsters through their academy and Arsenal has a lot of teens looking to make their way in the squad.

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Courtesy: Bleacher Report

Massimilliano Allegri from Juventus has helped continued the tradition of winning in Italy, and with Antonio Conte’s success at Chelsea, it is evident that an Italian influence in English football may be beneficial for the Gunners, a team that often struggles with defending. Allegri’s contract is up at the end of the season, and is the front runner to replace Wenger.

Darkhorse Eddie Howe may draw some interest from Arsenal but it is likely that Arsenal is too big for Howe. Howe has had incredible success at Bournemouth and coming from the Championship to the Premier League has been able to implement a free-flowing style without being punished for it, which is rare for a newly promoted team. Howe will likely find a bigger club this summer, but it probably will not be Arsenal.

Gunners faithful should be excited about the prospect of a new manager, but there is a very real possibility that the new manager will not deliver what Wenger did during his tenure. He shall always be treasured within the club, and the new manager better be prepared for a passionate fan base and a tall order to fulfill. Oh, and he can’t finish below Spurs, because then we’ll have his head.


Never change, Arsene.

Edited by James Malloy, Kat Johansen, Vincent Choy.

SQuiz
What is Arsene Wenger's Nationality?
Created 2/14/17
  1. English
  2. French
  3. Belgian
  4. Dutch

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