When Arsene Wenger was appointed the manager of Arsenal, whether he would achieve success was anyone’s guess. Plucked from the Japanese League by the Arsenal board, the philosophies that he brought to the game had never been experienced before and according to former players, his ideas were foreign to them also. However, he went on to achieve unbridled success, with the epitome of his success coming as he lead an Arsenal team to an unbeaten season and had their names firmly written in the Premier League history books. However, those days are long gone and the club has been in a pathetic state for quite some time and the longer Wenger stays, the worse his legacy gets destroyed.
In recent years, we have seen the Arsenal team progressively slide behind their Premier League competitors not only in the financial area of the game, but with productivity on the field. On far too many occasions, Arsenal have been extremely predictable to play against with Wenger being too stubborn to change his tactics unless it becomes blatantly obvious. The Premier League is a copycat league so when a manager of a Champions League club finds success at something, the others are likely to integrate that into their team some way or another. Take for instance the 3-5-2 formation that Arsenal employed towards the tail end of last season, it was only after Antonio Conte and Chelsea had success with it that Wenger was willing to try it even though the personnel at the team suggested that this was the way to go.
This stubbornness to embrace and throw himself into change has also extended onto individual players staying at the club much longer than they should. In my mind, a successful manager needs to be ruthless and the players need to have a level of fear that if their performances are below par, they will be called out for it. With the continuous level of poor play by numerous players and them continuing to receive multiple unwarranted chances, Wenger doesn’t have the ruthless streak to move people out of the club if they aren’t up to standard and doesn’t have the ability to coach up the younger talent like other managers like Guardiola and Pochettino.
Furthermore, the continued negligence he shows with the contract situations is extremely worrying. After the situations with Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas, one would assume that when star players start getting down to the last two years of their contracts, there would be an urgency to get that situation resolved as quickly as possible. However, with the summer of 2018 fast approaching, a large number of first-team players are coming into the last year of their contracts and there doesn’t seem to be new deals on the table. Contrast this situation to that of Arsenal’s North London rivals Tottenham, throughout the season, they have handed their stars new contracts and tied up their long-term security while Arsenal continues to flounder.
While the other clubs around Arsenal continue to show ambition and ascend with their agendas, the Arsenal contingent seems to have stagnated alarmingly and isn’t showing any signs of changing soon. As long as Wenger is at the helm and the players hear the same old stories about their potential being there yet remaining unfulfilled, this club isn’t going to be making any significant strides towards the title.