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Arsene Wenger: Should he continue as Arsenal manager?

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Arsene Wenger has enjoyed a long and successful history at Arsenal, but is it time he stepped aside, or the board took the decision out of his hands and asked him to leave?

It's impossible for them to sack such a club legend, who has masterminded one of the club's most successful periods, as well as building one of the best teams in footballing history, the Invincibles.

But many will argue that since that unbeaten season, his teams have always fallen short, and his Arsenal sides always seem to be happy to settle for being nearly men.

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Perhaps this is a harsh assessment, and supporters of Wenger will argue that he was overseeing the club through a crucial transitional phase, when the club's finances needed to take precedent while they moved to their new stadium.

This phase has now passed, and Arsenal have the financial power to pursue top quality players, and pay the necessary premiums, as Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil's signings prove. But the question is, is Wenger still the man who can lead Arsenal to glory once again?

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His ability as a man manager are admirable, and the adoration each of his players and former players has for him is testament to this.

He must also be given much credit for being willing to give young players a chance, and developing them into world-class talents.

He has done this on many occasions throughout his career: Thierry Henry arrived as a quick but inconsistent winger, and he was transformed under Wenger into one of the Premier League's greatest strikers.

Also look at Cesc Fabregas's development under him, and looking to more recent times, his willingness to give Francis Coquelin and Hector Bellerin a chance has paid dividends for the club, and is admirable risk-taking on his part.

Wenger also has a desire to play attacking, attractive football. Though certainly his teams of late try to pass the ball far too leisurely, lacking penetration so often, his Invincibles side played the perfect combination of direct, quick attacking football, matched with quality passing and ability to retain the ball.

The new invincibles

This directness is something he will be hoping to resurrect, Sanchez being a perfect beginning in trying to bring this back to Arsenal's play. 

He's also shown a willingness in recent seasons to adapt his previous ineffective and stubborn ways. He's been willing to change his big game tactics of late, playing teams which attempt to nullifying the opposition (against Chelsea and Manchester United are two recent examples), and this has paid dividends with promising results against top class opposition.

This willingness to adapt his ways, so late in his career, deserves praise, though many will argue it's too little, too late.

His recent attitude to the transfer market has been a change for the better. Though some will say his hands have been tied until a few seasons ago, of late he has shown a willingness to pay what is necessary to bring in the best, and it has proven to be worth it.

Sanchez has lit up the Emirates this seasons, and Ozil also, though having a difficult spell, is a top quality player. Many Arsenal fans will hope he can continue this trend in the coming summer, and sign top players in the couple of positions where Arsenal are weak: the striking berth needing serious reinforcing.

Changes needed

Olivier Giroud, though scoring a few goals at the moment, is frankly not good enough for a title challenging team.

Arsene Wenger's willingness to change his style of management, and proven track record in the past mean Arsenal really should stick with him.

And furthermore, he is unsackable. His history with the club make this impossible, and the only way he will leave is either by retiring, or stepping aside of his own accord (perhaps motivated by a quiet word in his ear).

Potential successor

With Jurgen Klopp available this summer, perhaps it is in Arsenal's best interests to have this quiet word ASAP, but I doubt this will happen and this certainly would be an incredibly harsh way to end the tenure of one of the club's greatest managers.

Arsene Wenger has become one of English's football's nearly men, always coming close, but never going the full distance. But I believe he deserves a couple more seasons at least to shed this image of him, and regain the invincibility his sides showed a decade or so ago now.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Arsenal
Arsene Wenger

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