Arsenal’s most successful and longest serving manager Arsène Wenger is now onto his 19th full season as the manager of the North London club. In the recent years, Wenger has been on the receiving end of the anger and frustrations of a vocal minority of our fan base who desperately want the manager out of the club as early as possible. The group has also been branded as the ‘WOB’ Wenger Out Brigade, and has clashed with their opinions against the ‘AKB’ or the Arsène Knows Best Brigade.
After managing the club through their most difficult period post-2006, Wenger finally broke a barren spell of 9 years without a trophy when the club lifted their 11th F.A Cup in 2013/14. Next season, Arsenal won the F.A Cup again as it looked like the team is beginning to finally get that winning mentality.
Despite their back to back F.A Cup triumphs, the biggest criticism of Wenger and Arsenal came from the fact that they kept on faltering in the final stages of the Premier League and surrendered their advantage never being able to keep up their title challenge for the whole season and grab the title.
Last year, Leicester City amazingly won their first ever Premier League with all the clubs in the top half dropping points regularly. Arsenal were in a strong position to win the league but finished eventually as the runner up, ten points adrift of the Foxes. It was really hard to take for the fans and the players as well. The main problem was with the players, who experienced a run of bad form in the crucial phases. Wenger’s reluctance to add covers in the striking department and in the defence were highlighted as the main reasons behind the latest failure.
The problem with Wenger was over the fact that he never spends money mindlessly. He submits bids for the players whom he only thinks are capable of improving the team. In the current world of hyped reputations and inflated price tag’s the classical method of concurring the valuations for their targets don’t allow for good impressions in the eyes of the selling clubs or agents especially. Still, it has to be remembered that the biggest magnet for the players wanting to come to the Emirates is the chance to work with the legendary manager.
In the last few years, players like Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez has left the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona to come to Arsenal. Arsène Wenger served as the biggest factor in those transfers as the players spoke highly of the Arsenal boss and his ability of developing players through the years. When players like Sanchez and Ozil say that Wenger knows exactly how they perform better and will help them improve their game further, it goes to show that the Frenchman has never really been affected by all the criticism from his fans and sometimes from some other managers, in the player’s circle.
This summer, Wenger has made three much needed transfers in Xhaka, Mustafi and Perez to bolster his defensive midfield, central defence and attack. For the first time in years, the manager has now players available under him who are not only matured but are also tactically very flexible, offering him the provision of moulding his team’s shape to a large variety of formations depending upon the situation.
Previously, Wenger admitted that the performance of his team this year will have a big effect on his decision of accepting to a contract extension, as he will be making his mind up very late into this season. However, the transfer of Mustafi, gave us some insights when the defender claimed that Wenger’s assurance of staying beyond this season was important for him in making the switch to the Premier League.
The contract extensions of Ozil and Sanchez are also rumoured to demand assurances of their talismanic manager staying beyond this current season in order to sign their respective contracts. Wenger claimed in recently that this is the most matured group of players he has had for a long time. A group that can be termed as a group of ‘MEN’ rather than ‘BOYS’.
There’s a big opportunity now for the manager to finish what he has always aimed for at the club and that is winning the Premier League as well as the European competition. It will be difficult than ever as always but the team is also in their best shape far more equipped to deliver than those of yester years. In order to ensure that, Arsenal board must keep Arsène Wenger for at least two more years so that Arsenal can finally win some more silverware and gain the momentum which will act as the Launchpad for the next manager in at the Emirates.