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The beginning of the end for Arsene Wenger?

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When you think of Arsene Wenger, you see the Arsenal manager in two ways; firstly, you see the man who revolutionised the North London club, with multiple trophies and qualification for the Champions League in every season he has been at the club.

On the other hand however, you see the man who has felt the brunt of disillusioned Arsenal fans who have watched the Gunners fail to lift a trophy in the past eight years. 

This alone may not appear enough to the neutral to be enough to lose the faith in Wenger, but combined with the losses of key players, and a failure to bring in players to the standard of those sold, can make even the most loyal of Wenger fans begin to doubt the man affectionately known as 'le professieur'. 

Whereas teams such as Manchester City, Chelsea and also Tottenham have used the summer to strengthen after falling short of personal targets last season, Arsenal's only summer recruit has been France U-20 international Yaya Sanogo, on a free transfer.

Football Manager fans may regard that as a brilliant piece of business, but in reality it is not enough for a team whose manager believes they can challenge for the title this season. 

The news of a reported bid for Yohann Cabaye this morning has gathered interest, with Cabaye a player who would certainly add something to Arsene Wenger's team, but for too long have Arsenal allowed their top players to go and truly failed to replace them.

From Patrick Vieira in 2005, Cesc Fabregas in 2011 to Robin van Persie in 2012, they have seen their best players leave and the players brought in have truly failed to match that quality. 

The Arsenal of today is peppered with quality, but as a squad they truly lack a leader, a voice that will pick players up when they are down, and demand that extra ten percent required to contend for trophies.

Tony Adams and Martin Keown were certainly those type of players in the first two title triumphs, whereas the 2004 winning side had the leadership qualities of Vieira and the outrageous ability of Thierry Henry at his peak.

Looking at the squad against Aston Villa, it is arguable only Jack Wilshere and Wojciech Szczesny could be seen as vocal presences, with the latter needing to focus on his own game if he is truly to cement himself as Arsenal's number one goalkeeper for the foreseeable future. 

The defeat to Aston Villa highlighted all those problems, and whereas in the grand scheme of the whole season, this defeat does not resign Arsenal to anything, the fact remains Wenger needs to spend.

Not panic buy, but to highlight their target and go for them rather than drag a negotiation process that shows the fans intent, but no end product, something seen from the Luis Suarez 'plus one pound' bid. 

Wenger is not solely to blame, far from it. The words of Ivan Gazidis claiming Arsenal have money to spend ring in Arsenal fans ears when they look at the failed captures of Suarez and Gonzalo Higuain.

Whereas the inactivity and lack of involvement from Arsenal's largest shareholder Stan Kroenke has done little to assure Arsenal fans that their money spent on the most expensive tickets in the Premier League is actually going anywhere.

This is a statement echoed from the Arsenal Supporters' Trust (AST), taken from the BBC:

"Ambitious football clubs invest the money they receive from their fans, and sometimes their owners, to make themselves stronger," said the AST.

"Arsenal supporters pay some of the highest ticket prices in world football, providing the club with considerable financial resources, but the ambition and ability to use them appear to be missing.

"The fact that there is money available for squad-strengthening is not disputed. The AST's independent analysis suggests that the amount is somewhere between £70m-£100m." 

The AST also go on to question Kroenke's involvement with the club, showing that despite them believing it is not the time to talk about an extension to Wenger's contract which expires in 2014, the blame does not fall solely on the Frenchman. 

But the fact remains that Wenger is now paying the price for remaining loyal to a board who stalled Arsenal's progression whilst paying off the debt for their Emirates Stadium.

It could be a case that in order to retain the faith shown by Arsenal supporters, that he may have to publicly challenge the board for the backing to sign world-class talent, rather than defend their best attempts. 

Wenger has also suffered since the loss of his closest confidant on the Arsenal board, David Dein in 2007, even offering to resign in support of Dein when he left the club.

The loss of a man held in such high regard by not only the manager, but also the players is a blow that the club have seemingly failed to recover from. 

For all of Wenger's success at Arsenal, he has earned the patience during a trophyless period at the club, but an apparent lack of ambition from the club, and the continual loss of their best players within that period has made patience wear thin.

If that promised 'war-chest' is not opened by the closure of the transfer window, it could be a long hard season for Wenger and Arsenal.

If they fail to make their minimum requirements this season, it could very well be his last. 

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Arsenal
Premier League
Football

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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