There have been calls in various quarters for Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger to quit due to the "poor showing" of his lads for the past few seasons, exhibited by the lack of silverware for the north London club.
The recent loss to Aston Villa in the Premier League heightened these agitations but Wenger and his boys were quick to silence critics with their fine display that saw them beat Fenerbahce 3-1 in Turkey, in the first leg of their Champions League play-offs. Is Wenger really a failure and deserves to be booted out?
One very important point that must be noted by those calling for Wenger's head is that Wenger is the club's longest-serving manager and most successful in terms of major titles won, having led Arsenal to 11 trophies since he joined the club in 1996.
The Frenchman joined Arsenal after successful spells with French club, AS Monaco and in Japan and has earned a reputation for spotting young talent, and he has remained focused on developing a youth system; his clubs develop young players instead of buying expensive, experienced ones.
Perhaps this is the backbone of criticism the Frenchman has continue to face. He has also faced criticism for sticking closely to his principles. Football pundits have even gone as far as questioning his ambition to win trophies in recent years.
For the avoidance of doubt, Arsenal boast of a huge chest of trophies garnered under Wenger's leadership. The club also parade enviable records, some of which have not yet been broken.
Arsenal hold the record as the second side to complete an English top flight season unbeaten (in the 2003-04 season), and the only club to do so across 38 matches.
Arsenal's tally of 13 league championships is the third highest in English football, after Manchester United and Liverpool, while the total of 10 FA Cups is the second highest, after Manchester United who has 11. The list goes on and on.
It is baffling that when Arsenal were amassing silverware, winning doubles and creating new records, there was little or no criticism of the man nick-named "Le Professeur". Whereas it is this same policy of developing young players that he has employed all along.
Several players have rejuvenated their careers, under his guidance. Thierry Henry, his former protege at Monaco, was developed from a winger into a striker to subsequently become Arsenal's all-time top goalscorer.
Wenger has a penchant for spotting and nurturing young talents. At Monaco, he signed a Liberian George Weah, who was later judged FIFA World Player of the Year and Nigerian Victor Ikpeba, a future African Player of the Year.
Throughout his managerial career at Arsenal, Wenger has signed relatively unknown and inexperienced players such as Patrick Vieira, Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song and Kolo Toure.
He continues to trust youth instead of purchasing experienced players. These players have all gone on to become great stars and in some cases help Arsenal win trophies even though there have been trophy drought of late.
However it has not been all sad for Arsenal thus far, as the club has continued to retain a spot at the top four consistently and have regularly participated in the Champions League, despite stiff opposition from north London rival Tottenham and the traditional top four teams, bearing in mind that Arsenal parade a youth team with little experience in the top flight.
Arsenal till date, have one of the best top-flight records in history, having finished below fourteenth only seven times.
In terms of profit, Wenger's prudent use of the club's funds in the transfer market has mean't more profit for the club while maintaining their presence in the top flight.
Although Wenger has made big-money signings for Arsenal, his net spend record on transfers is far superior to other leading Premier League clubs.
A survey in 2007 found he was the only Premier League manager to have made a profit on transfer, and between 2004 and 2009, Wenger made an average profit of more than any club.
The purchase of Nicolas Anelka from Paris Saint-Germaine in 1997 best explains Wenger's shrewdness in the transfer market.
Instead of criticism, Wenger deserves kudos for his youth policy which has not only benefited foreigners but has nurtured several English talent such as Ashley Cole, David Bentley, Steve Sidwell, Jermaine Pennant and Matthew Upson while some are still building careers at the club- the likes of Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs.
With the right balance, Arsenal have got the talent to win trophies and soon we just might see the lads lift some silverware for Wenger.
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