Arsene Wenger: The Hero Arsenal Need


This past week Arsenal made their first signing of the summer transfer window. Was is it Morgan Schneiderlin, Petr Cech, or Jackson Martinez? Not Quite. Arsenal opened the summer war chest to splash out a reported 71,000 pounds to sign Romania U-16 captain Vlad Dragomir from ACS Poli Timisoara.

Can you hear it now? The inevitable chants of “Wenger Out” and elegant banners such as this gracing the stands at the Emirates.

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Far from being a reason to chuck criticism at our manager, this is precisely why the man is an absolute legend. Since his very first season in North London, Arsene Wenger has put the club before himself and done everything in his power to prepare Arsenal for the future.

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Wenger has put a premium on youth during his reign in North London, a philosophy and tactic which is rare to say the least and it is only becoming more scarce in modern football.

In a society where  instant gratification is often the choice and anything else is discredited, it would certainly be easier to drop 60 million on Paul Pogba and be done with it, if you have got the money (more on that later). Sure he will also demand astronomical wages and might be gone in 3 years, but you can bet the fan base will be placated for the time being.

Throwing money and big name signings at problems is a lot like papering over the cracks in a wall and Wenger has known this from the start.

“I think in the future we need to look at our youth department to provide more players for the first team think it is important for a club to have a good amount of players that have roots with the club and region.”-Arsene Wenger

No doubt after the initial success which Arsene Wenger brought Highbury, the Arsenal board would have given him anything he asked for, including loads of cash to spend, but in typical stoic, level-headed fashion, Wenger went with the logical long-term route.

Dragomir is yet another example of Wenger’s long-term philosophy which should be lauded even more so at this stage in his career.

At the ripe age of 65, who knows how much longer Le Professeur will be around and he surely must be craving the weight of the Premier League trophy one last time.  Instead of compromising his principles in a manner which might potentially harm Arsenal just to win a trophy, the signing of Vlad instead points to Wenger setting Arsenal up for a life without him (also, the new Jenkinson deal is in the same vein).  Not only is he currently building the club for a future without his guidance, but he has sacrificed countless personal triumphs and accolades to move the club forward and keep it in the forefront of international football.

The near decade between the FA Cup victories of 2005 and 2014 was a rough time for Arsenal to say the least.  It was not particularly helpful that during the period previous to this, Wenger was a massive success, culminating in Arsenal’s ‘Invincible’ season of 2003-04.

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The following trophy drought annoyed and angered everyone with ties to the club, but one man knew it had to be done.  With the inception of the football oligarchs (Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan, Roman Abramovich, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, etc.) and the new, massive injections of cash via TV rights, etc, Wenger knew Arsenal needed to keep pace.

The best way to do this was to build a new stadium, what would end up becoming the Emirates.

Emirates Stadium nearly doubled the capacity of Highbury and after having recorded a debt of nearly 25 million pounds in 2002 Wenger had plans of his own.

“It has been a big target of mine to participate in pushing the club forward and relocating to a new stadium is a necessity as it will enable us to become of one the biggest clubs in the world”-Arsene Wenger

The new stadium meant that Arsenal would be working with seriously depleted funds for the foreseeable future and that meant no big signings or big wages.  This in turn meant Arsenal often had to sell their best players as well.

Everything seemed to be stacked against the gunners while the Emirates was being built, but Wenger somehow managed to keep the club in the mix of things.  Sure the trophy drought was evident, but in that time Arsenal never once finished outside of the Champion’s League places (the only team to do so), and though ultimately all were unsuccessful, his side of youngsters and bargain buys made a number of cup final appearances, title challenges and even a Champion’s League final appearance.

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He did this knowing the team would faces challenges for the next decade, and that meant limited possibility of success for himself, but knowing it was for the better of the club. I can’t imagine many managers would have made the same decision and the more time that goes by, the more thankful I become for Arsene Wenger’s sacrifices.

Maybe just as big of an effect, though have been Wenger’s contributions since the club has had the funds to once again spend big.

Arsene Wenger was instrumental in both the signings of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.  I, for one. wonder if both these maestros would be in the red and white had it not been for Arsene.  The players often speak about how excited they are to work with someone of the calibre of Wenger and he is certainly an ace in hole plenty of clubs can be envious of.

“The moral values I’ve learnt in my life I’ve learnt through football.”-Arsene Wenger

As someone who was drawn to this club because of the principles it stood for and because of the man at the helm, I urge all Arsenal fans to take a step back every once in a while and be thankful for what we have: A man who gives his all for the club. He brings morals and art to football in a way we can all appreciate and he does it in the name of Arsenal. While he is not always successful you know he is giving it his all.  Thank you, Monsieur.

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Next: Vidal to Arsenal picking up steam?

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