If not for Arsene Wenger and the sacrifices he’s made, it’s hard to imagine where Arsenal would be today. The stature, the reputation or even the identity Arsenal have as a club among all other European giants is all down to the Frenchman’s contributions. Compare the club’s state prior to Wenger’s appointment and the state thereafter, and you’ll get an idea. The most one can say of what Wenger has done to Arsenal is that he has transformed the north London club into one of world soccer’s biggest, most richest brands that has an identity not powered merely by the trophies they’ve won but the kind of soccer they play. It’s been quite a journey from a compact Highbury to the Emirates Stadium that speaks a lot of what the club is at present – powerful and rich. It is “The Arsenal.”
For anyone who has ever been privileged enough to pay a visit to the home of the Arsenal, the deafening silence there tells the truth about a club that has constantly underachieved for more than a decade. And among that silence, particularly over the past two to three years, are the shrill voices pleading for Arsene Wenger to be kicked out of the club. “Arsene, thanks for the memories, but it’s time to say goodbye” is a famous line in Islington these days among the Arsenal faithful, and rightly so to some extent because of the repetitive nature of Wenger’s failures at the club.
To some extent, the fans are right in demanding for Arsene Wenger to be sacked. They have every right to raise their voices regardless of whom are they being raised against, but, it may well be that the fairyland they keep dreaming of post Wenger’s departure could be a disaster in disguise. Just take a look at what has happened at Manchester United with a change of manager. When Alex Ferguson left, there wasn’t one person who could see the Red Devils finishing in seventh the next season. David Moyes didn’t do much wrong. It was just that the pressure of the expectations of the world’s biggest club that got to him, and he simply crumbled under the pressure. He never got to terms with what Manchester United as a club was all about and failed miserably. Louis Van Gaal’s case is no different.
Any person aware enough of the roots of the modern Arsenal knows the consequences that could follow if Arsene Wenger’s philosophies and ideals – the foundation stones of Arsenal as it is today – are tampered with. Mind, not anyone and everyone can realize what Arsenal Football Club is about. Carlo Ancelotti and Pep Guardiola were both of the Wenger league, but with both of them being appointed elsewhere that means there isn’t an ideal candidate on the market to replace Wenger. Truth be told, any manager in the world is an apparent ersatz when tried to replace the Frenchman. The fact that Arsenal under Wenger have never finished below the top four regardless of how poor a side they’ve played tell us how tough it will be to replace Wenger.
Just imagine if a possible replacement such as Diego Simeone, with his more defensive-minded tactics, manages Arsenal to an eighth place finish in the league? Not only will that harm the club on the financial front but it could also mean that the club loses its identity both on and off the pitch. It’s this identity that makes Arsenal one of Europe’s top guns.
The bottom line here is that Arsenal need to stick with Wenger for the time being until they can find someone exactly of his ilk, someone like Joachim Low for example. Yes, the Arsenal manager is past his best, but even a disappointing Arsenal under Wenger is better than what most of his friends could do at the club. That’s how good Wenger is. The choice is Arsenal’s. Don’t regret telling Wenger to step down.
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