Very rarely does the manager of a football team come to symbolise the club itself.
Many managers have made the core of their focus when taking on a new job the task of integrating themselves with the philosophies of a club. Fewer have succeeded in taking control of those philosophies, and changing them, changing the direction in which the club goes in the immediate future.
But only a handful of names have taken a football club, a way of life for millions, and left their indelible mark on it, a mark that will never fade.
Very few managers have made their names synonymous with a football club, and the club's synonymous with theirs. One such name, and one such club, is Arsene Wenger, and Arsenal Football Club.
From the very moment the bespectacled Frenchman officially took over at Highbury on October 1, 1996, he took the way things worked at the club, and gave them the most thorough of makeovers. He was one of the first managers to bring European football to the shores of England. He was the first one to truly challenge Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United's newly-developed stranglehold on the Premier League title.
He brought the talents of Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira and Cesc Fabregas to north London, where they were to become Gods. He made Highbury a fortress.
The world-reknowned Emirates Stadium was his brainchild, and he went to great lengths, and made great sacrifices, to see it in all its glory. He has had to endure the highest praise, followed by the harshest criticism. And yet he has stood firmly by his beliefs, and has made Arsenal the home of some of the greatest football England has seen in a long time.
It is fair to say that when Arsene Wenger retires, which may not be for a long time to come, seeing as he is "just" 63 years of age, he will have a long list of achievements to look back on. Titles, honours, glory, and more. However, and this is just an idea, his most important contribution to the club may just be his course of action in the summer transfer window of 2013.
Wenger once made a bold prediction that his Arsenal team could remain unbeaten in the league for a whole season. That did not happen that year, but he did not have to wait for long to see his prophecy fulfilled. I think the time has come to make another prediction, and hope that it is fulfilled sooner rather than later.
And that prediction is: if this transfer window goes that way millions of Arsenal fans want it, the club will find its painful wait for a Premier League title drawing to a close. Stated in not so many words: this transfer window, and what Arsenal do with it, will shape the future of the club. The immediate future, that is.
Let us see why.
For the first time in as long as many fans will be able to remember, Arsenal are not running the risk of losing one of their top players to a transfer. Last season, they lost Robin van Persie and Alex Song. Before that, Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy. Before that, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure, Mathieu Flamini, Aleksandr Hleb, Jose Reyes, Thierry Henry, Vieira. The list goes on. One struggles to imagine what Arsenal could have done if they hadn't lost such crucial players, year after year. For the longest time, all Arsene Wenger could do in the transfer market was damage control, the mitigation of the losses his squad continued to suffer.
But today, Wenger can look at a squad that put together a run of one loss in 16 games to end the 2012/13 season in fourth place, and confidently say that he can keep the likes of Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Nacho Monreal, Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny at the Emirates. And with this headache off his mind, he can now focus on performing what you would call a complete makeover of his squad, trimming loose ends and adding the right pieces to complete the jigsaw.
Arsenal have begun the process of phasing out the deadweight of the squad, with Johan Djourou, Andre Santos and Andrei Arshavin all but exiting North London, and more likely to follow.
Arsenal have been strongly linked with some of the best players the European transfer market has to offer, with Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain rumoured to be in the final stages of negotiations with the club, in what would be a huge coup.
Players as varied as Stefan Jovetic, Fernando Torres, Julio Cesar and Clement Grenier have been linked with the club, and although some of the rumoured interest has not come to fruition, it seems like Arsene Wenger has finally decided to delve into his pockets - now rumoured to be deeper than ever before - and this can only bode well for the club's fate on the football pitch.
It is a tried and tested fact that success in football has a topple-on effect, like one domino falling on the next. One trophy clears the path for the next, and so a winning streak can be created where there were previously only years of failure (Manchester United will certainly attest to this).
The same applies to Arsenal. One good year, one trophy in the bag could possibly mean more than just the silverware; it could mean a very bright future for the club. Even a transfer like that of Higuain could have drastic effects on the way Arsenal is perceived as a destination for the top talent in the football world.
Over the next few years, the club could attract the calibre of players it has so desperately needed to complement the football Wenger has always wanted his teams to play. This will only happen if Wenger begins the ground work in this window, by making his intentions for the club clear. Signing Higuain wouldn't be the worst place to start.
Sometimes all you need is a change of luck. The summer transfer window of 2013 could give Arsene Wenger the chance to write another chapter in the history of Arsenal and the next two months could prove - in hindsight - to be the pen and paper on which the future of the club is written.
All Wenger needs to do is make the right signings. He has done that before, which means it can be done again.
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