Arsene Wenger Arsenal manager

How dignified it was for Arsenal fans to break out into a brawl over a sports opinion. Whatever you think of that small group of supporters who unfurled that banner asking Arsene Wenger to step down, the greater matter here is that it is just an opinion on football; they’re not advocating genocide.

And here’s the thing: Arsenal fans are probably the most divided set of supporters in England, most certainly in terms of the biggest clubs in Europe. You have fans of other clubs looking in and asking what people are so worked up about. There’s a manager who has done wonderful things in the past for the football club and yet here we are, an increasing section not all that bothered if he stays on after this season.

Ungrateful? No, not really. I don’t think you can throw that word around in sports and make it stick. And it’s not really about entitlement either. Are Barcelona supporters supposed to apologise for being the best team in the world? What about Bayern fans? Should they be embarrassed for the success their club has enjoyed? No club deserves rewards for doing nothing, but if you’re a club who is expected to be there or somewhere within touching distance, and certainly with the finances swirling around many sections of football at the moment, fans do have a right to believe their club should be doing better.

So it understandably grates when Wenger raises excuses not to enter the market. We’ve heard him say many times in recent transfer windows that the “market is quiet or flat”, that there is “not a lot of money in football at the moment”. Yes, I agree. But isn’t that the whole point as to why Arsenal moved into the Emirates? Europe may not have finances to strengthen, but Arsenal do.

The manager’s criticism of Newcastle for spending this January was bordering on embarrassing. The thing about Wenger is that he wants to play by his rules, one which follows the ideals of low spend, youth development and the capping of certain aspects of the game. That’s all well and good, but he also wants others to follow his own personal game – and that is misguided.

I get that Wenger is one of the smartest managers in football, and he’s more than backed up with a CV that makes him one of the finest ever to arrive in England. But why have Arsenal become so separated from what is now considered the norm in football? People may not like it, but it is the norm to pay above £15 million for a player when the club are financially healthy and in desperate need of reinforcing. People may not like it, but paying your best or most valuable players the market rate – which, for example, may fall into the £100,000-£120,000 per week category – is acceptable. A big club like Arsenal shouldn’t have to worry about falling the way of Leeds or Portsmouth or Rangers; there isn’t a clamouring for the club to do that, but rather to make exceptions in circumstances where bending of the rules is necessary.

Wenger talks about Arsenal not finding the right players or players who are good enough to come in during January. Well Newcastle have done an excellent job of adding good players for small fees who could have done well at Arsenal. Mathieu Debuchy would have been a bargain buy and a player of sufficient quality to add something to Arsenal. Isn’t that the sort of signing Wenger is supposed to be making?

There are players available in January, and players who are capable of making a huge difference. If the money is right, you can bag a Luis Suarez in the January market, and the Uruguayan shouldn’t really be considered expensive considering what he’s produced in England.

But John Cross made the point last week that Wenger changes his mind almost 10 times on transfers. He dithers, re-evaluates his options, discovers he does actually need the player, and then realises that another club has stepped in to land the transfer. You do get the sense that Wenger sees transfers as a sign of weakness and a plea for outside help. Again, it’s an unrealistic approach to football management that just doesn’t work. Not every club in Europe is blessed with the youth systems of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, Bayern Munich, and Ajax. What about clubs in South America like Boca Juniors and Santos? These are exceptions, but fortunately for Arsenal fans Wenger is trying to create a similar setup at Arsenal. Unfortunately for Arsenal fans, Wenger believes the youth system to be good enough now to create the larger percentage of first-team players than what is brought in via the market.

Wenger has a responsibility to the fans during this time. He is fighting fires, from board members who offer contrasting stories to having to witness fans clashing over his worth as manager. But he doesn’t help the situation by repeatedly talking down the transfer market and what is available to him. Many fans have said in the past that it would be foolish to expect Wenger to say he wants a striker and a defender, for example, as it would encourage other clubs to hike up the price. I believe that to be a lot of nonsense anyway. Even if you surprise a club at three in the AM wishing to purchase one of their stars, they have as much right to inflate the price then as they do if they were to hear whispers in the media originating over a week prior. A flawed argument, as cases such as Cesc Fabregas’ sale to Barcelona gives evidence. Chased for over two years, sold for close to nothing.

The greater argument here is that once again the point is raised for Wenger to alter his ways. Give supporters something to be a little hopeful for. Why should fans of a club like Arsenal, who charge the highest prices in England, be forced to dismiss rumours of a £20 million signing just because it’s never been done before?

Make sure you do your Tax Return before the 31st January, click here now

What do you think?

Sign in with Facebook and be
entered for a chance to
Win a pair of Puma evoPOWER football boots

Terms and Conditions

Why?

  • Sign up in 2 seconds
  • Use your FB profile image
  • No need to remember a password
  • See which of your friends would like this

Note: We don't post to your wall

Login

Comment without logging in

You will need to fill this out each time to comment so why not quickly login with Facebook!

*

What do you think?

Sign in with Facebook and be
entered for a chance to
Win a pair of Puma evoPOWER football boots

Terms and Conditions

Why login with Facebook?

  • Sign up in 2 seconds
  • Use your FB profile image
  • No need to remember a password
  • See which of your friends would like this

Note: We don't post to your wall


  • abob
    2 years ago

    It’s almost gotten comical the amount of analysis that can be made about Wenger from a few press conferences and few newspaper articles.

    … by the way he has also bought players for 15 millions in the January transfer window – remember Arshavin? So really it’s a case of him doing it more often… kinda ruins that ‘changing his ways for once’ angle you were going for…

    Also Fabregas sold for close to nothing? Sure it wasn’t the world record Arsenal wanted but 25 Million down payment with potential to take deal to 30-35 million? What are you on about with close to nothing?

    So, it’s fairly obvious Arsenal need new players in in January – pretty much anyone can see that but the rest of this blog is just the same old rehashed staple of the blog sphere…

    … and before I get pounced on by the anti-wenger brigade… please not I agree that wenger needs to splurge the cash, just bored of the way this blog has gone about it…

    Reply
  • vijay
    2 years ago

    the last point. thats absolutely describes whats happening at arsenal now. I Pray to god to change the mindset of arsene who thinks he is living in stone age time of football.

    Reply
  • vijay
    2 years ago

    the last point. that absolutely describes whats happening at arsenal now. I Pray to god to change the mindset of arsene who thinks he is living in stone age time of football.

    Reply
  • Gooner of the day
    2 years ago

    What a brilliant article and all so true
    hope the boss reads it too.

    Reply
  • Michael Dosse
    2 years ago

    Absolutely; this is a marvellously written article. All is true in it. I didn’t want my reading to stop. Weldone to you Mr Hallette. Let’s jsut hope that the right people read it. Well … will they ever do?

    Reply
    • chris from Cambridge
      2 years ago

      I can tell you who will NOT read it. The controlling Arsenal shareholder.

      Reply
  • Georgio
    2 years ago

    Great article Thomas, these things have to be said. Those fans at Brighton that unfurled that banner should be allowed to do what think is right. Shame on those thugs that intervened using their fists. Freedom of speech anyone?

    Reply
  • Tom
    2 years ago

    Wenger is to much invested in all aspects of operations at the club ,and when one does that it takes away from their ability to do everything well. Wenger the manager wants to sign a player but Wenger the Accountant thinks the evaluation is too high. Alex Ferguson once signed a player without seeing him play, can you imagine Wenger trust a scout enough to do that. When you macro- manage a big club like Arsenal , there are simply too many aspects of club’s operations for one person -no matter how talented – to stay on top of ,without overall performance suffering. Having a dictator like control has become Wenger’s trademark and that’s why he isn’t interested in Real Madrid job. With a strong chairman like Perez who demands trophies on day one, and Wenger’s tactical deficiencies combined with his inability to deal with big egos, Arsenal is where he will stay.

    Reply
    • chris from Cambridge
      2 years ago

      Either Wenger HAS sigend players without seeing them play …. or …. his judgement of players is rubbish.

      Reply
  • guy
    2 years ago

    this is it for Arsene wenger to go, the man lost his touch,out of idea in the transfer widow even in the pitch;enough is enough, i can’t buy his policy anymore.

    Reply