“When you’re losing a tug of war to a tiger, quickly release the rope, you can always get another rope, but not another arm”-Unknown
Since joining Arsenal in 1996, Arsenal fans have seen every side that there are to see of Arsene Wenger, the French gaffer joined from the unheralded Japanese league and wasn’t expected to be a big deal to the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Terry Venables et al but he took the league by storm with instant impact. His first task was to establish total football, injecting a Dutch core and giving Arsenal an enviable identity.
Arsenal weren’t far off the top under George Graham but it’s always Manchester United in the nineties era with Newcastle and Blackburn threatening, Liverpool sometimes come strong as well as the now forgotten Leeds United, somehow, Wenger took the double in only his second season. Having managed Henry at Juventus, Arsene Wenger added the Frenchman upfront, alongside Nicolas Anelka, Dennis Bergkamp, Marc Overmas and then Nwankwo Kanu, if you’ve witnessed these names in Arsenal shirt, you’ll have full rights to be bewildered with the generation that took over from these sensational bunch.
While it must be admitted that the clamor for Wenger’s head has been abusive, you’ll be forgiven if you compare the quality of Wenger’s decisions in the transfer market back then and now, no point sugar coating the subject, it’s time for Arsene to walk away and allow fresh breath, the next question is why? There are so many whys you wonder how on earth he’s still on the job, then you’ll sink into the chair of despair after you realize he has a job for life, something that irks a certain Portuguese somewhere.
It also has to be established that beyond all doubts, Arsene Wenger would be a hit wherever he goes, depending on what hit means for his new employers, how so? Have you not wondered what would have happened if Wenger were to be trophyless with a more ambitious side? When some sack champions league winning managers just a season after with Roberto Di Matteo and Carlo Ancellotti coming to mind, it must be well noted that even though Wenger has to go, he rather should be judged by what his employers want as against the thirsts of the fans.
Let’s talk about a few whys, if you indeed love Arsenal as a team and know the club enough, you’ll hate to see Arsene suffer, he’s given his best years to the club and has beyond questions delivered the club’s best years, but twenty children won’t play for twenty years, even though they have in this context, it’s time to end the tie and wish each other goodbyes.
The first why to talk about is the hypertension that trails every transfer window, it has to be the most harrowing period of the year for Arsenal fans, one moment they’re being linked with Higuain, the next moment they’re signing Olivier Giroud, one moment they’re lining up Luis Suarez, the next moment they’re signing Yaya Sanogo, while others are shelling big bucks to acquire the best in Europe, Arsene Wenger is elsewhere negotiating to the last dime on players that won’t survive the February meltdown.
The usual talks of war-chest in the vault always trail every window and in the end, next to nothing is spent, leaving fans frustrated as they see rivals adding big names while their darling team only adds big potential. If you can’t get big names in the market, it means you can no longer be trusted, even with regular champions league football, you need to ask question.
Talking potential, Arsene Wenger has failed to turn big hopes into daylight reality. While he’ll be quick to remind everyone how he built Thierry Henry into a world class striker, he always forgot how Walcott has failed to come close to the potential he signaled early on, even pouncing on the number 14 shirt did him no good, Jack Wilshere is doing far better under Eddie Howe and you wonder what Wenger tells him, Oxlade Chamberlain swings from both ends of brilliance and mediocrity effortlessly, confused often times as he’s played several positions without nailing any, remember Denilson? Carlos Vela? Whom he sold and kept Bendtner, not many know he had Harry Kane shipped out while Jermain Pennant and Co were kept, his decision to keep faith with below par players cost Arsenal so much in years past and he’s still doing it. Aaron Ramsey had one bomb season and since gone back to his old frustrating self, exposing the midfield with needless over-acts and still get the nod to start the next game, how many players are we going to list? Gervinho, Senderos and his compatriot Djourou, gone are those days of being patient with players, for Arsenal, that trend deserved a befitting burial the day Robin Van Persie opted to head to Old Trafford.
Talking players jumping ship and Arsene Wenger’s attitude, one would cut these players some slack if you evaluate what became of them later. Thierry Henry, club legend bought out his contract for his quest for champions league glory, he achieved that as soon as he got into a more ambitious team. Samir Nasri wanted more money, if you’re playing that good you deserve some financial points but Arsene said no, same with Ashley Cole, Clichy, Sagna and Flamini, save for the latter, the rest all went on to lift the title at respective destinations.
The current squad is experiencing same fate, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez want pay rise, with the kind of revenue these boys bring to the table they deserve to earn as much as they desire, with China splashing hard, silverware hopeless and ambitions ticking in these lads, you’ll be most unfair to complain if they jump ship.
How does Wenger replace the departed ones? Alex Song for Vieira, Bendtner for Bergkamp, Jenkinson and then Chambers for Sagna, no one of note for Van Persie except you see Alexis as a striker, there were needs for center back cover and DM in years past, Wenger failed to address any, when there were shouts for a striker at some point, Le Prof got Kim Kalstrom, when Chelsea had John Terry as a commanding leader, Manchester United had Vidic drumming sense into his men, Liverpool had the inspirational Steven Gerrard, Arsenal had Fabregas, you know the rest when you see the twenty year old Spaniard looking down pitifully at Almunia after the latter must have fumbled a tame effort into the net. If you witnessed the invincibles, you’ll be shocked at the spineless squad Wenger has for each match day these days and you wonder why results shame fans.
Talking results now, every team get it rough sometimes, the best of teams have been beaten on off days, but how often do these dark hours rear heads? More often than not in recent times under Arsene Wenger. When Manchester United hammered Arsenal 8:2 in 2011, all heads went southward as the manager ran into the bank to sign five players, X-ray the team the Red Devils destroyed, zero midfield with many suspended or injured, having sold Sami Nasri to City, poor defense and short supply to the maligned forwards, the five players got on that deadline day went on to be more of nuisance than anything positive; Metersacker is the only surviving member of that bunch, in all honesty, he shouldn’t make any ambitious team but he’s Arsenal’s captain, there was a Santos that became a friend to the enemy, a Benayoun that was gotten at the wrong time, Mikel Arteta also in the twilight of his career at the time as well as a better forgotten Park.
You can’t give what you don’t have, the squad has never been good enough to win anything. Remember going four up against Newcastle and still played 4:4? Remember scoring after 90minute against Liverpool from the spot and still manage to concede one in split seconds? The scandalous 6:0 reverse at Stamford Bridge on Wenger’s 1000th game in charge? So many leads surrendered every now and then and watching Gervinho and Giroud blast clear chances well wide and you wonder why they should return on the next match day.
As long as Arsene is in charge, these harrowing results won’t stop coming, the hopes that come with every new season die too often in February, after the first leg of the knockout phase of the UCL, season in and out its the norm, the latest being Bayern’s second half riot, that puts an end to Arsenal’s season if you realize Chelsea, United, Spurs and City are alive in the FA Cup. Talks of being unable to compete in the transfer market, hence unable to sign world beaters were well quashed by Leicester last season, Ozil’s sign on fee would foot the entire Leicester squad, how did they manage such feat? If a team of unheralded average players could stay fit all season and produce mind blowing results week in week out, what stops Arsene Wenger’s team? Injury, poor form, congested fixtures, poor refereeing, name them.
Arsene has lost it, his arrogance has failed severally and he keeps turning deaf ears to the fans, when something isn’t working, only a fool sticks to such and expect miracles. When Conte and his boys were hammered at Arsenal earlier in the season, he switched to an unfamiliar formation and went thirteen straight games without dropping points, change!.
The injury excuse has to be evaluated now, Jack Wilshere has been on fire at Bournemouth without being injured once, when last did he give Arsenal three straight games without being taken to the theatre?
Jack Wilshere for Bournemouth in the league this season:
Most take-ons completed (48)
Most chances created (29)
Most through balls (12) pic.twitter.com/gsE0VdzoWV
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 13, 2017
What happens with Wenger’s training routine? How do ordinary knocks turn into Achilles’ tendon tear at Arsenal? Why is it so common with Arsenal players that whenever they get injured, there’s always a setback story during recovery? Santi Carzola, Walcott, in fact everyone has been down at one point or the other this season and we just passed the halfway a month ago, it’s worrying to fans but normal to Wenger; “I’ve been around for too long to know how this works” his usual comments and little he knows that men are bored and tired.
Wenger won’t make changes until it’s too late, bad enough that his team selection on match days are very predictable, making changes to alter things seem like rocket science to him much to the frustrations of season ticket holders. As an Arsenal fan of many years, if there’s any manager I’ll love to see lifting trophies at Arsenal, it’s definitely Wenger, but since it won’t happen for inexplicable reasons, then a change is required.
Arsene Wenger is such a great manager, calm in the face of storms and his legacies are golden, but these cherished legacies are under threat, not everyone would leave on a high like Sir Alex, when the Scot veteran wanted to exit the stage, he snapped up the best striker in the league, won the league and left on a high, Wenger had the chance to strengthen his squad to compete in a season that should be his last, he had Kante begging, he got a red card liability midfielder in Granit Xhaka, think about it, players like Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez couldn’t trust a Wenger enough to switch in the summer, shows how much of diminishing returns the Frenchman is enduring. If he walks away now, his place in the Arsenal history is forever secured, staying longer to oversee more heartbreaking years would only ruin the legacy he’s established.
The Arsene knows best bandits are the major problems here, if he truly knows best, he’ll agree within himself that it’s time to go, he can’t possibly know best and keep Welbeck on the bench for that long against Bayern, he can’t know too well and bottle Birmingham in 2010, need more?
Thank you Arsene, but it’s time to walk away because “when you’re losing a tug of war to a tiger, quickly release the rope before it gets to your arm, you can always get another rope, but not another arm”.