Wenger’s virtuousness validating venerability as Arsenal assuage
Matt Haynes | January 7, 2016
Injudiciously splitting opinion over his Gunners tenure, Arsene Wenger is starting to show that his judgement call a decade ago to offload key squad assets for sustainability’s sake, ensuring the club met their fiscal responsibilities, was astutely accurate.
Gunners cavalry lead Premier League charge
Arsenal are in prime position to win the English top flight this season and are 7/5 with Coral to do so. A barrage of attacks was launched in Wenger’s direction following a futile summer transfer window, in which the Frenchman favoured just a solitary senior signing in goalkeeper Petr Cech – a coup in itself at just £10m and from fierce rivals Chelsea.
Many have questioned Wenger’s lingering loyalty towards the squad he has compiled over a number of years. Refusing to part with core youngsters who literally single-handedly, with the odds stacked against them and in the face of footballing adversity, ardently ensured Arsenal qualified for the Champions League every season, carries with it a rarity reluctantly adhered to in the modern day.
For all of his steadfast stubbornness, Wenger cannot be accused of being disloyal. Perhaps it is due to his employers’ sticking with him for so long, this trait is one that he seems to apply to his squad.
Wenger a stand-alone
With Sir Alex Ferguson having retired, Wenger is the longest-serving manager in the Premier League, and English league football come to think of it, and for good reason. A shining example for young, ambitious bosses to follow, he understood one thing, which has undoubtedly been the fundamental foundation for his sustained success.
Something which is so simple, yet often overlooked. While he has been criticised for his puritanical procedure where squad spending is concerned, the Frenchman from an early age knew how to effectively buy knowledge.
Fluent in three languages, top of his class at secondary school, equipped with an economics degree and having dabbled in medicine, Wenger is arguably the most intellectual manager in football. Studiously cementing a deep knowledge for all aspects of the game, he revolutionised the Premier League’s approach to sports science, incorporating strict diets and relevant exercises to a player’s daily regime.
A technique that clearly worked. Underpinned by the club’s domestic double triumphs in the 1997/98 campaign when Arsenal lifted the Premier League and FA Cup trophies, just one season after being appointed.
Propagating perpetuity and patience, with an awareness that longevity is the key to success in the long term, Wenger has seen quick buck artists come and go in the Premier League. Sparring partner, Jose Mourinho twice now.
Arsenal’s time is now
Wenger will have recognised where his side have the advantage over nearest title rivals Manchester City. Opposite number, Manuel Pellegrini’s squad squeals lack and limitation, forebodingly, fatally fatigued. Their recent Capital One Cup semi-final defeat to Everton extensively evidenced this and with captain Vincent Kompany’s absence from the defence and Sergio Aguero’s lingering injury problems, City all of a sudden look on the wrong side of average.
Earlier this season, Arsenal had similar injury problems, though Wenger, with years of experience saw his side yield requisite results and it is this that could prove to be the differentiating factor for Premier League glory.
Add into this that Pellegrini will feel the pressure of knowing that Pep Guardiola could take over from him at the end of the season, a cluttered fixture schedule, an alarmingly small squad and that his board are unlikely to back him in January following a lucrative summer outlay, City could falter further.
Arsenal advertently can take advantage, especially in January. While they don’t need wholesale changes, just a couple of additions can equip them with enough to triumph. There really is no need to go into the extent of the talent the Gunners have at their disposal.
Instead, initiating justification for progression against Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League makes for pertinent plausibility. This is where Wenger can exercise cunning at the highest level, with the north London outfit currently 3/1 to advance.
Links to highly sought-after Borussia Dortmund frontman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang persist, with reliable Spanish journalist, Kike Marin, who first broke news of Arsenal’s interest in Alexis Sanchez, claiming Wenger is in discussions over a £44.6m deal for the prolific forward. The Gabonese goal-machine would also be eligible to play in the Champions League and this could be the Gunners’ tactical play to beat Barca.
In an age that is all about the money in football, it is ironic that Arsenal, in terms of surplus due to revenue have a near-bottomless pit with an economics major as a manager who is perhaps the best investor at his level in the sport, spending far wisely than opposite numbers who are bankrolled by billionaires.
Finance could have easily been his calling in life, though Wenger and his players, this season are looking increasingly likely that they will be the elitists who bank the kessef.
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