By Tony Attwood
One newspaper headline today is “Arsenal need a realist who will get rid of half of the squad”.
I am not at all sure that this is the case, but I wonder if those who have called for Mr Wenger’s departure are already evolving their position.
The argument I have had tried to postulate all the time is that changing the manager doesn’t automatically take a club from being where we are, up to being champions, or as has been said a number of times, regularly challenging to be champions. My argument has always been that changing the manager is no guarantee of such change because of other issues floating around the club such as:
- The amount of money to be spent in the transfer market given the wealth of some other teams
- The attitude of the board of directors
- The reluctance of some managers to come to Arsenal having seen how Mr Wenger has been treated after three FA Cup wins in four years, a League cup final and a Europa final this year.
- The lack of action from Uefa over FFP.
That doesn’t mean we won’t get a manager, of course we will but whether he will be able to deliver an improvement on Mr Wenger’s record over the last five years I am not so sure.
But let’s have a look at the notion of getting rid of half of the squad. That would do two things: leave a squad that had to spend a lot of time getting used to each other at a time when many are off playing in the World Cup (that, I suspect would be very difficult), and the recruitment undertaken in a way that I don’t think has ever happened before. Mr Wenger certainly brought in new players when he arrived before, but he also revitalised some existing players.
That change was possible because the crowd were not getting on the backs of half of the team, as the article noted above suggests. In this difficult atmosphere, life might not be so simple.
And because of this I suspect change will come at a more modest pace, and this might antagonise some people who have put a lot of their own time and effort into creating flags and rehearsing chants.
One of the interesting ways that some of the bloggettas who have promoted the notion that everything is all Mr Wenger’s fault is proposed by setting up the story that unless the board move now for the perfect manager the chance of getting him will be lost forever. (In the case of one article that perfect manager is Patrick Vieira).
So although the original tale was, get rid of Mr Wenger and everything will be alright, within a matter of days that has changed to, get Mr Wenger and appoint x whoever “x” is, and everything will be alright. If not we are still doomed. All doomed.
Another interesting assumption that seems to dominate all the many transfer stories that are doing the rounds today is that the departure of Mr Wenger makes no difference and that the same players as before are being bid for.
Which is interesting because we have quite a few range of opinions:
a) Clear out half the squad now or else nothing will change.
b) Everything is as before – the people we were bidding for before, we are still bidding for the same people.
c) The new manager will have his own men and will change a couple of players – as probably would have happened this summer had Mr Wenger stayed.
But all three scenarios created problems. Option a) does create a chaotic situation with so many ins and outs not only is the team unstable but the whole squad is uncertain who is coming and who is going and indeed how they are supposed to be playing, especially after a World Cup summer.
Option b will just seem odd, since Mr Wenger’s departure will make no change, and presumably the same nay-sayers will get on the back of the manager once again.
Option c will look once again like Mr Wenger is still here which for the anti-Wenger crowd will be the worst of all worlds.
None of that looks like appeasing the anti-Wenger people who have got so used to being anti the club it could be a little hard for them to settle down, especially if results don’t go our way quickly. We know from all the commentaries that appear daily that winning the FA Cup maybe three times in four seasons is not enough, and that top four is not a trophy.
Because I saw very few anti-Wenger writers actually go into the practicalities of the changeover I think this could be quite a tough ride.
But let’s hope not.
Mr Wenger and the Match of the Day focus on the banner – an edited link thanks to Verdi Dhami
- What takes clubs up and down the league: attack or defence?
- Referee Extremism: the situation in Spain and in England
- Didn’t appreciate KO time, M1 is a disaster, but watching Arsenal is a joy
- Arsenal v Newcastle: the team and league positons AFTER the game.
- Arsenal v Newcastle: injuries, yellow cards and recent form