There’s no denying it, Arsene Wenger is under pressure at Arsenal.
The Frenchman, who has been at the club for 20 years, hasn’t led his side to Premier League glory since 2004 and the Gunners’ latest failed title bid has angered many fans.
Arsenal were favourites for glory when they beat Leicester in February but just four wins in their previous 13 matches has seen them crash out of both the FA Cup and Champions League, as well as seeing them fall ten points behind Leicester.
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Many Gooners protested against the club’s, and Wenger’s, under-achievements this week during their 2-0 victory over West Brom with around 15,000 empty seats at the Emirates.
But Jamie Carragher feels that Wenger’s biggest mistake didn’t occur this season - in fact, it took place back in 2013.
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Wenger's big mistake
“When Arsene Wenger looks back, how much do you think he regrets that £1? In July 2013, when Arsenal were pursuing Luis Suarez, how different would things have been had they made Liverpool a proper offer?” Carragher wrote in his Daily Mail column.
“Wenger and Arsenal were under the impression, remember, that a bid of more than £40million would take Suarez away from Liverpool but they took that to the extreme. By putting just £1 above the fee they thought would trigger a deal, it ensured business would never get done.
“If you look back at Wenger’s 20 years in English football, there are so many highlights, but that day in July 2013, with the bid that enraged Liverpool, cannot be ignored. Not signing Suarez is the biggest mistake of Wenger’s reign,” he added.
Suarez has gone on to bigger and better things
Suarez remained at Anfield that summer with Wenger seemingly reluctant to go higher than their derogatory offer. But the Frenchman must have immediately regretted not doing more to sign him after he scored 30 goals the following campaign as Liverpool came close to winning the title.
By then, it was too late. Suarez signed for Barcelona in 2014 for around £65 million and hasn’t looked back since. His four goals last weekend put him on 49 after just 48 matches - the kind of emphatic goalscoring record that Arsenal are crying out for.
The Gunners seriously lack a natural goalscorer with Oliver Giroud, Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott all playing as a centre-forward this campaign but have only managed 33 goals between them.
Arsenal may have gone 12 years without lifting the Premier League trophy but Carragher insists that simply signing Suarez would have seen the glory days return.
Guaranteed league titles
“Had Arsenal pushed the boundaries for Suarez, perhaps with an offer of £50m, I believe they would have won the Barclays Premier League in two of the last three seasons. That’s the thing about Suarez: whichever team he plays for, he drags them to a higher level,” he said.
Wenger’s contract expires at the end of next season and, if he survives, is likely to leave next summer. But if he had splashed out on Suarez in 2013, things could have been very different.