Ask any Arsenal fan why the club is often mentioned when discussing great football and the answer will come down to Arsene Wenger. The legendary Frenchman has revolutionised the North London side and has introduced a philosophy that has seen the club reach great heights. However, the past 7 years fans have been forced to endure a disappointing trophyless spell. So who’s to blame? Simple: Football is to blame. Football nowadays is very much a money orientated sport. Money controls the game and quite simply, Arsenal cannot compete financially. In 2006 Arsenal moved to the new home of football; the Emirates Stadium, just a stones throw away from their old home, Highbury. The stadium cost a lot of money to build and Arsenal have been repaying ever since – the debts appear to be disappearing now though due to the clubs lack of major spending over the last few seasons. Until now!
Arsenal changed home at the time when more and more money was being introduced and less was being made available for transfers. Any money made was being used to repay the debt and a little was put away to strengthen the squad. The squad has been changed a lot in the past 7 years. Players have come and gone and today the club remain a target for criticism. Why? Because Arsenal are Arsenal. People expect the Gunners to win things and when they don’t people continue to jest. In the current climate, and considering their resources, Arsenal have done well. They’ve reached finals and have come close to winning on a few occasions. Many fans claim that Arsene Wenger is to blame. They say it’s his fault Arsenal are not winning because he is not spending. I find it funny Arsenal are criticised for not spending and for not handing out absurd salaries. Extortionate fees are beginning to take their toll on football – many teams are priced out of moves so only certain clubs can sign certain players – so why should Arsenal be accused of being tight for not following the trend that so many claim is ruining the beautiful game? Arsene Wenger is assuring the future of Arsenal with his policy. He may not be spending big but that doesn’t mean he isn’t bringing in quality. Arsenal have signed some good, quality, experienced players in the past 2 summers and they haven’t even spent over £100m yet.
When it comes to the transfer market Arsene Wenger’s eye for a bargain is nothing short of exceptional. He finds players for prices that you would not believe. Lukas Podolski, for example: £11million for a player with 100 caps for one of the greatest national teams ever, 100+ professional goals, experienced and just about to hit his peak. He’s seemingly worth so much more than what’s been paid. Mikel Arteta is another fine example. Nobody would’ve thought that a somewhat injury-prone 29 year-old (at the time) could have the impact he’d have. But Wenger ignored the criticism and preconceived anger and showed his ability to pick a player from the bargain bucket is still as great as ever.
Arsene Wenger is by no means infallible, or exempt from blame and criticism, of course not but is there another manager capable of managing Arsenal? The pressure, the finances, the demands. The job as a whole seems very difficult. Is another manager capable? That’s debatable but one thing for sure is Arsene Wenger knows football. He understands the way it works and the way it’s heading. He knows what’s needed and he is doing what he can to bring the glory days back to Arsenal. It’s easy to say Wenger should be blamed for the lack of success in the past 7 years but with all things considered, is it so much his fault that he should be sacked? Not in my opinion.
Last season Arsenal lost 2 key players and a 3rd key player to injury. An 8-2 drumming in the midst of a poor start to the season and Arsenal still found a way to finish 3rd, even though they went without natural full-backs for 2/3 months and the missing players issue. Who’s that down to? Arsene Wenger. It seems some fans want it their way – Arsenal do bad, Wenger’s fault. Arsenal do well, Wenger’s not praised. It’s a crazy and ignorant mentality.
I don’t wish to bang on and give the impression that Arsene Wenger shouldn’t be blamed, the man has made mistakes and deserves some criticism. Just not as much as many have given. It’s time to appreciate the loyalty Wenger has shown and repay him with support. Many supporters jump to conclusions, and unfortunately they don’t hit their head on common sense on their way up. But luckily there’s more logic than idiocy amongst the Arsenal fandom. Thank you for reading.
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