Wenger: Imperious as an Arsenal manager…

Wenger: Imperious as an Arsenal manager...

Arsene Wenger is set to become the longest-serving manager in Arsenal’s history and this morning’s papers feature our leader to some degree.
The Sun reports that Wenger will break George Allison’s record of 4,748 days at the helm – from June, 1934, to May, 1947 – on Thursday.
But the Frenchman reckons he still has plenty to prove, despite a stunning record of success, claims the paper.
Wenger, whose side entertain Olympiakos in the Champions League tonight, admitted: “Yes, it was a big gamble. When I think retrospectively, that is the biggest surprise to me.
“At that time what Arsenal did you needed to be a little bit crazy. Crazy in the sense that I had no name, I was foreign, there was no history. They needed to be brave.
“First I had to convince people I had the needed quality to do the job. I am still trying to do that. It has not changed. It is difficult to put into context today because when every foreign manager comes in, it is the red carpet for him.
“But it was not like that when I arrived. There was a history and belief in England that the foreign manager could not be successful. Now you have a different feeling. Now you think only foreign managers can be successful and that is wrong as well.
“I believe I contributed to the change in attitude about foreign managers. That can look pretentious but I don’t think it is at all. I can show some articles where people tried to prove that the foreign managers can never win an English championship.
“That has changed and I have certainly contributed to that. But I am also one of the few who defends English managers. I was lucky to find at Arsenal the support I found and that is important for success. I have stayed at Arsenal for all different reasons since but that is one of them.”
The fact that AW won’t dip into his transfer kitty makes the Daily Mirror this morning, which reports AW has admitted he does not want to buy new players despite being handed a £50m transfer fund.
The Arsenal manager has risked upsetting fans by insisting he wants to nurture his promising youngsters and develop homegrown talent rather than buying established talent.
Arsenal yesterday announced record annual profits of £35.2m – and that figure does not include the £36m from the sale of Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor to Manchester City.
Wenger said: “Listen, there is money to spend but at the moment I am very happy with the squad I have. It’s not because I’m against spending money, I have nothing against spending money. But I do not spend money because out of tomorrow’s squad is Nasri, Walcott, Bendtner.
“And yet people want me to buy strikers, but where do I put them? I don’t know. I have to then lose players, who, for me, are world class. If by December we need to buy someone to add to the squad I will do it. Success on the pitch is the most important by far, but success on the pitch cannot be maintained if you are in financial trouble.
“It is true there is money and people reproach me for not losing money. It is not a personal thing, it is just that I have a squad that is strong enough to compete.
“Look at the two last players we bought – Arshavin and Vermaelen. We have spent money. When we bought Vermaelen was he a big name? Certainly not because nobody knew him. When I look back at everywhere I worked, when I left the club there was money in the bank.
“But when I see other clubs in the situation they are today I still think it is in some ways not responsible to think you walk away and the club is in deep financial trouble and there’s no future.”
Looking at tonight clash with the Greeks, the Daily Mail reports that Nicklas Bendtner is out of the Champions League match against Olympiakos after a horrific car crash which left him shaken, bruised and lucky to be alive.
The Arsenal striker crashed his £120,000 Aston Martin into a tree on the way to training on Sunday and, although he was at the club’s London Colney base on Monday, he did not practise with his team-mates.
AW said: ‘Fortunately there was no long-term damage but we thought it better he did not train. He should be back on Sunday against Blackburn.’
Meanwhile, back in the Sun we learn that Theo Walcott is also expected to return from a back problem in time for the weekend.
But Denilson is set for up to two months on the sidelines with a fracture to his back and Manuel Almunia is still troubled by a chest infection, so Vito Mannone is set to continue in goal after his outstanding display against Fulham.

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