The Importance of Arsene Wenger to Arsenal's Success

Arsene Wenger, ‘Le Professeur’, or simply ‘Le Prof’, has on many occasions been subject to a huge amount of criticism from both the media as well as Arsenal fans about his ideas and the way that he runs the football club. This criticism, that I believe is unfair, is based hugely around the economics of the way that the club is run. 80% of this criticism is directed at the way he spends the money that has been generated by the sale of top class talent such as Cesc Fàbregas and, more recently, Robin van Persie.

Arsène made a huge leap forward in stopping this criticism with the recent purchase of German international midfielder Mesut Özil. At £42.4 million this is more than double the last big transfer that Wenger completed, that being a certain Russian midfielder who didn’t work out as well as was hoped. Özil announced shortly after completing his transfer that personal talks with Wenger convinced him to sign for Arsenal (of course in German) which is a fine example of the respect in World football that the Frenchman commands.

The attraction of younger talent is also one of Wenger’s biggest assets, with one of the finest example of this being the purchase of a struggling 21-year-old French winger from Juventus on the 3rd August 1999 for £11 million. Thierry Henry would go on to become the greatest striker in the history of the Premier League. Home grown talent is also constantly being uncovered with the likes of Jack Wilshere, Carl Jenkinson, Kieran Gibbs and now Serge Gnabry all important squad members. Another name on the lips of many coaches at Arsenal is a young midfielder by the name of Gedion Zelalem, who we will see more of in the coming years.

The playing style which has been part of the Arsenal fabric under Wenger is unrivalled in the Premier League. Termed ‘Wengerball’ by Arsenal fans, this is the magic that unfolds on the carpet-like Emirates turf when the Gunners really turn on the style. When Wenger’s Arsenal go through the gears there are few teams in world football that can stop them, with Bayern Munich away in last season’s Champions League being a fine example of this. Attractive football is integral to the philosophy of Wenger’s Arsenal and is hugely respected by many football experts whilst it is not taken lightly by Arsenal fans either, even through their frustrations of recent years. After all football is a form of entertainment these days as well as a sport – would you like to watch a team that bores you to death like some teams in the Premier League (those teams are for another article all together)?

The major bug-bear with Wenger from Arsenal fans is that there have been no trophies for 8 years – however this doesn’t mean there has been no success during that time, more a lack of the tangible success which a trophy brings. Continually participating in the Champions League is nothing short of incredible due to the financial rewards on offer for doing so. Not having the level of money to spend to keep up with the cash-rich and carefree whilst also losing your best players year after year would be difficult to recover from for most managers, but Arsène somehow manages to qualify for the riches of Champions League football. I think Wenger is the best manager in the Premier League, especially since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson. Some people will argue that that distinction should go to Jose Mourinho but he has never really had a difficult job (other than satisfying an oligarch) and would he have been able to achieve what Arsène has with such minimal financial backing?

Aaron Ramsey has been subject of a lot of criticism, much like Arsène has in recent years, since his arrival at the club and especially after his horrible injury early in his career. After months of under performing, Wenger stood by him, convinced of his qualities, and this season his loyalty has been rewarded with many incredible performances and a fine return in terms of goals with 9 goals in 14 appearances this season. Another similar story is Carl Jenkinson, the young right back who bleeds Arsenal red but had a rough start to his early Arsenal career, however Arsène stood by him and was rewarded last season with many faultless performances in the absence of French international right back, Bacary Sagna to whom he is now a genuine challenger.

Loyalty is not a common commodity in modern football, however Arsène has stood by the club that he truly loves. Throughout recent years he has had many opportunities to leave, to manage teams like Real Madrid and the Brazilian national team, however he knocked back all advances so that he can achieve success again at Arsenal. He has even knocked back the opportunity to manage his own national team. This loyalty should be rewarded and he should be given a new a new contract as soon as possible.

In short, Arsene Wenger is the most important person at Arsenal and Gooners don’t realise how lucky they are to have ‘Le Prof’ in charge.”



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