How can I be trying to suggest that a man who has not won a trophy in eight years has completed the best piece of management in history?
Think about how difficult it is to keep in the top four in England, especially when other teams around you continue to strengthen their squads. Then consider the achievement, that throughout the past 17 years of Arsene’s tenure, he has kept qualifying for the Champion’s League.
I remember watching Gary Neville at christmas talk about how he felt that if Arsene Wenger got this Arsenal squad into the Champion’s League then it would be his greatest achievement ever.
He has achieved this, so is it his greatest ever? Let us come back to the facts, Wenger’s transfer policy has been often scrutinised by fans as he tends to prefer to sign unknown French players over marquee signings. Yet look at the way his Arsenal side have finished this season - since the Bayern Munich game they have not lost a single game.
Wenger has steered Arsenal through a very tricky financial period while still maintaining their Champion’s League status. Knowing full well that once you drop out of that elite group it is very difficult to get back (look at Liverpool).
The Emirates stadium project cost £390 million -a large portion of which was debt. For the past ten years Arsenal have spent very little, yet still stayed a Champion’s League club. That is an amazing feat! Never has the term ‘on a shoe-string’ been more relevant.
Let’s look at the present, Arsenal could not be in a better position financially - they are paying off the stadium debts, they have new sponsorship deals with Emirates & Puma and they have a comparatively low wage structure.
What Wenger needs to do now to complete the best piece of management in football history is take the outlines of a trophy winning squad and add the quality required to win big games.
If he combines this with the pre-existing team spirit and determination then Arsenal’s trophy cabinet may not look so empty any more.
And then Arsene Wenger will have proved himself as one the greatest.
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