We’re nearly there people… the boredom of international football and the horrible two week break from the Premiership is nearly over. Normality can resume.
So what’s on the agenda today?
In particular. Arsene Wenger’s contract.
Yes, with two years to go, Ivan Gazidis has come out with a typically gushing interview about Arsene Wenger. He wants to tie him down to the club so he passes the magical 20 year mark.
“It’s not a sense of sentimentalism, not a reward for services, it’s a belief that we have an incredible manager who loves this club and is the best man to lead us forward,”
“We’re really confident about the direction that the club is heading. I feel he can keep going for a long time. He’s in fantastic shape and he’s as driven as he’s ever been and excited as ever’
Now, many will disagree with the comments of Gazidis. We all know that the real reason the management want to tie him down to a forever deal is that he works perfectly with Stan Kroenke’s agenda of spending far, far less than he brings in… whilst maintaining a credible league position. When I say credible, I mean maintaining a league position that allows for Champions League football that gives us even more money.
Dark comments aside. Lack of success aside. I’m not totally against Wenger getting a new deal. Maybe that’s because we’re looking in pretty good shape this year. Maybe because I’m still struggling to pinpoint exactly who is the problem here, the manager or Stan Kroenke. Maybe it’s because Wenger addressed some pretty serious issues this summer.
1. He accepted the back room team needed refreshing
2. He accepted that defence is a discipline that needs attention and respect
3. He tried his best to shift out the players with bad attitudes
4. He didn’t replace from within and he bought quality
Sure, he didn’t buy as much quality as we’d have hoped and that will probably still come back to bite us in the backside. However, I think we’re in the best shape we’ve been in for years. We’re still missing our keeper, our best young player and one of the best right backs in the league. I also think my position when it comes to the manager may have been influenced by the amount of Liverpool fans I work with. They pine after Rafa Benitez like you wouldn’t believe. If we did push the manager out the back door, does anyone have faith that Ivan and Stan could pick a suitable manager to take Arsenal forward? I’m not so sure…
This comment was interesting as well…
“When you look at what Arsene has done, within the overall constraints, he has outperformed our spending every single year he has been manager. It is extraordinary.”
Now, if you look at the constraints from a purely mathematical perspective, we left the summer with a profit from a standing position. Throw in the £54million we already had then add in the Queensland Road money. That’s £70million right there. There are no constraints. Which brings me back to the post I put up earlier on in the summer (here). I was told Wenger was informed he’d be given £10mill to spend if we missed out on Champions League and £20million if we did qualify. We still came well under budget even if it was £20million, but that’s more down to the surprise departure of Song to Barcelona. Simple fact is, Wenger is either protecting his paymasters. If he’s not, his paymasters don’t care what he does because he’s still giving us the top 4 they need each year.
When Gazidis talks about constraints, is he citing the now? Does that mean in 2 years time there won’t be any constraints there? Or are we just looking for the next… ‘One day Rodney, we’ll be big spenders’ moment?
‘“We get accused of a lack of ambition or complacency because apparently the board are only interested in the top four. That is absolute rubbish. To me this is the most ambitious football club I know.”
I’m not quite sure how the CEO of a club that has overseen the sale of it’s best players year after year can come out with a statement like that. I understand the stadium move wasn’t easy, but we’re through the worst of that, we have to start delivering more than just ambitious words. We have to start behaving like the Bayern Munich’s of the world. We have to put the team first for once. We have to build a squad the believes in the project. Things are looking good this season, but they won’t if the investment in the squad continues to go amiss.
The simple decision you have to make on this contract is this…
Could someone else come in and take us up a level? Has he been polishing turds for the last 7 years… or has he been polishing his ego and obsession with toppling the money men of football? Has he turned the corner by choice or has his hand been forced by retirements of key men? Will he ever be able to hit the heights of yesteryear?
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Let your thoughts be known in the comments…