Arsene Wenger could have been out of The Emirates’ back door without a trophy in a decade. What a damp squib of an end it would have been for one of the Premier League’s greatest providers and servants.
It’s no secret that the 64-year-old has stalled on signing his contract extension. It now finally looks almost certain that he will put pen to paper and commit to another three years with The Gunners, worth a reported £24 million.
It would be frivolous to assign it completely to winning the FA Cup but naive to disregard the importance of shiny silver.
As an Arsenal fan myself, I do think that Wenger is still the best manager for the job. I did even after watching Aston Villa’s Antonio Luna perform a lone waltz from the halfway line, put the kettle on then slot the ball inside Wojciech Szczesny’s near post on the first day of the season.
Personally I pride loyalty above most other attributes and Wenger’s has never been in doubt. He has been courted by some of the biggest clubs and wallets in the world, yet stood firm in his commitment to The Gunners even in the face of staunch opposition. They say he’s stubborn, an accusation you could level at anybody who is stoic and firm in their principles.
Critics wail that Arsenal is now a ‘feeder’ club when it’s a side effect of consistently creating and nurturing the best young talent. It’s also the main reason why he has performed a modern football miracle of only recording just over a £13 million loss in transfers in his tenure at Arsenal.
An incredible feat when you factor in the move to The Emirates, which now acts as the blueprint for other modern stadiums, and the economic climate over the past decade. Wenger doesn’t
follow trends he sets them.
The man from Strasbourg has revolutionised the Premier League more than any other manager. The first to utilise football science through dieticians and training statistics while pioneering new talent scouting routes across the globe namely France and Africa.
He almost single-handedly raised English football to the next level of professionalism. When he arrived at The Gunners alcohol was outlawed and he even reportedly banned ketchup. He should get a trophy for managing to get Tony Adams, Paul Merson and Ray Parlour to ease off the other kind of sauce.
You can usually quantify the success of a process or product through the amount of copycats. It turns out the doppelgangers that took the philosophy and skewed it are billionaires fuelled by fuel itself and disrespectful of the FIFA Financial Fair Play Regulations.
Positive new signings, instead of finance control, are now the keystone in the foundation of Arsenal’s future structure. The taste of silverware and knowledge that other teams will strengthen has already acted as a catalyst for an earlier start to proceedings than in previous windows. Among the competition, is the wounded beast of The Red Devils wielding both a
supposed transfer treasure chest of around £180 million and a certain new Dutch manager who is unafraid and unapologetic when it comes to spending.
The main positions that Arsenal need more strength in depth are striker, centre back and goalkeeper. It could be the Luis Suarez deal dependent Karim Benzema or the toy-out-of-pram hurling Mario Balotelli.
Perhaps it will be the negotiations coup of Antoine Griezmann, for £18 million according to the London Metro, or the return of the prodigal Spanish exchange student Cesc Fabregas. Whoever is welcomed to North London it should be Wenger at the helm. After all, only The Professor can work out the sums.
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