Arsene Wenger. A philosophical, experienced and somewhat joyful man. For some, he’s all they’ve ever known and one of the greats. For others, he’s a manager who has shaped Arsenal, then deformed them again.
During the earlier parts of his Arsenal career, he experienced many successful seasons. Who could forget the invincibles? The double winners? The Champions League finalists even. There’s no doubt he was an outstanding manager, but with those qualities, came lots of negatives as well.
For starters, Arsene has many stubborn qualities. When he chooses a system, it’s that system and nothing else. Whether you’re talking about zonal defending or tiki-taka football, whether it’s working well or not, the team will stick with it – not to mention his horrendous transfer policy at times. Yes, it’s true, certain teams are built for certain types of players, for Arsenal, it’s players full of pace, creativity and the desire to keep the ball. When a footballer whom Wenger likes is available, he’s in the team in no time, however, sometimes it’s about bolstering the number of the squad to deal with a long season, which Wenger is not a fan of, it’s either the perfect player or no one comes in at all. Over the past decade, we’ve seen how detrimental this belief has been to the team. With a lack of depth and at least a dozen injuries a season on top of that, it’s cost us dearly.
The purpose of a football club, in general, is to compete at the highest level, win trophies and entertain the supporters. Yes, the “Wengerball” type of play can be entertaining at times, but it’s failed us in recent years, along with his lack of ambition. The famous ‘Fourth place is like a trophy’ quote, is often one that is discussed regularly among Arsenal fans. When a manager, who is in charge of a club with an international fanbase, comes out and says mediocrity is the expectation, it clearly shows the fans, players and the opposition where Arsenal’s ambition lies.
Wenger is a manager, who prioritises a nice big paycheck for the board members, over success. There aren’t many managers in any sport who share the same beliefs. His philosophy and his comments in the press have severely lowered the standard of fans, almost brainwashed them into making them think mediocrity is a success. Yes, the move to the new stadium was navigated superbly and Wenger kept Arsenal afloat in those barren years but it seems that mentality of running a sustainable business has permeated the club and is now the sole ambition of those in power, namely Wenger himself. The fans sense this and it seems the players have to, which has resulted in some poor performances on the pitch.
It’s about time another individual comes in. Someone who has new ideas, higher ambitions, and can motivate players to put in a performance. It’s time for a new era to begin, a fresh start for the club. Hopefully, this can be sooner or later, and we can thank the man for his contributions to the club.