I have been defending Arsene Wenger for a few years now, I was actually possibly one of his best defenders (certainly better than Sebastien Squillaci).
I honestly believe that during the move to the Emirates, Wenger was extremely loyal to the Gunners and absolved a lot of the blame when money for transfers was tight.
But unfortunately for Wenger, as the purse strings loosened up and as rivals slipped up, Arsenal have still been found wanting.
This week Wenger stated that he had wanted to sign N’Golo Kante from Leicester City but the player chose Chelsea:
“I tried to sign Kante when he was in France and when he was at Leicester.”
“We cannot explain everything – transfers are transfers – but it is quite obvious when you look at where he has gone.”
Ok so Arsene is basically saying that Chelsea offered more cash.
Now in terms of transfer fee, Arsenal paid more for Granit Xhaka in the same summer Chelsea signed Kante.
In terms of weekly wage, supposedly Kante earns around £110k a week and that’s certainly higher than Xhaka’s £90k a week.
But when you look at the Arsenal squad; Theo Walcott, Oliver Giroud and Hector Bellerin are all on £100k a week or more. Surely Wenger could have convinced his board to match or better Chelsea’s offer and have the incentive of Champions League football to woo Kante to the Emirates.
In the end they didn’t seem to have the hunger to go after the player, who would have vastly improved their midfield, and battle a team for his signature. They settled for something else.
Arsenal are once again slipping up in the league, yes they’re still in the top four but surely they need to be challenging for the Premier League title.
Last season was their big chance as Chelsea, Man United and Man City struggled to make an impact. But alas it was Leicester City who took the crown. Even when their rivals had fallen away, Wenger’s men couldn’t take advantage.
Nothing in the last season and a half suggests Mr Wenger has the answers or deep desire to win the biggest competitions. It’s as if the manager has lost the competitive edge he arrived with. I think when the club were moving to the Emirates the emphasis was always on Champions League qualification, not winning the Premier League or the Champions League.
When that period of transition finished, Wenger struggled to get away from that ‘finishing in the top four is fine’ way of thinking.
Star players like Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez were brought in to move the club up a level but the main silverware still eludes them. That starts a vicious circle when they buy world-class talent, fail to win the big prizes and then the best players look to leave for club’s challenging for all the trophies.
Now Sanchez and Ozil may not be actively looking for a move away but they’ve still not signed new deals and everyone is getting a bit nervy down at the Emirates.
I think it would be best for all concerned that Wenger and Arsenal decide to part company in the summer. He will forever be remembered as an Arsenal legend, who also changed the whole landscape of English football. But the Gunners seem stuck in a rut and Arsene just can’t get them out of it.
To break from this new norm then maybe they need to go for a new manager who can change things.
Posted on February 5th, 2017 by scott
Filed under: Article