After Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, Arsene Wenger has become the longest serving manager in English football. This has left Arsenal fans in particular to reflect upon his time at the club and what the future holds for him.
When he arrived at the club, he was somewhat sceptically received with many of the senior players such as Tony Adams unwilling to get behind his new methods immediately.
However, he soon got them on side and managed to stamp out the drinking culture and it brought immediate rewards. With a continental influence on the squad with a solid defence (Seaman, Adams etc.) and pace all over the team (Overmars, Petit) and the main man up front – Dennis Bergkamp – the Gunners stormed to the title in 1997/98.
Another double came in 2001/02 before perhaps the greatest team of all time, the Invincibles, blew everyone away in 2003/04. There was no doubt that that was Wenger’s team. They played his style of slick, quick, passing football and it was dominated by his signings.
Since however, there have been few bright moments in seven going on eight trophy-less years. The move to the Emirates behind which Wenger was the driving force and reaching the Champions League Final against Barcelona are two that stick out in the memory.
That brings us to now, where Wenger seems to have the perfect opportunity to prove that he is the right man at the helm: He has a bright young squad which is seemingly settled and without a star player soon to leave.
He has a lot of money in the bank with a supposed £70million transfer fund as well as reports of a new kit deal worth around £33million a year with Puma. This is surely the perfect time to spend some money.
It’s clear what positions need to be strengthened – Striker, Defensive Midfield and Goalkeeper – and there are good targets lined up in Stevan Jovetic, Maxime Gonalons and Victor Valdes. All would be welcome additions in my opinion.
What’s crucial now, however, is to ensure Arsenal clinch that final Champions League spot starting on Tuesday against Wigan and then we have an exciting summer to strengthen. They can then attract the top players and bring in the quality required to bring silverware back to the Arsenal.
It’s now in Wenger’s hands to capitalize on this opportunity with Fergie retiring which many say could spell an end to the red half of Manchester’s dominance and turn Arsenal back into ‘The Arsenal’.
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