If a lack of confidence is a problem with this current Arsenal team it’s easy to see why, going from Wenger’s latest comments to the French media.
Back in the days when there were few cooler than Wenger and he came out with his ‘prettiest wife’ comments, he unsurprisingly seemed better able to command respect from those around him. The media, who have turned on him in recent years, used to love him. Whether this is his own making or not is for another day.
It is understandably draining having to deal with questions of crisis from the media in every interview these days, and certainly over the summer when half the squad wanted to leave. But it sounds to me like Wenger needs to show everyone who’s boss again. He has allowed himself to be bullied for too long by the press over here and could do with making a stand not too dissimilar from Fergie, who didn’t speak to the BBC for something like six years; now the media fear the United boss, and would not dare treat him in the same way.
And the same goes to being bullied by the players. Frankly, it’s not Wenger’s problem if Cesc Fabregas’ dream is to play for Barcelona. While the Nasri situation was difficult due to the fact that we would obviously lose him for free in a year’s time, Fabregas had years remaining on his contract and should not have been allowed to force a move. Wenger could learn from Harry Redknapp here, who absolutely maintained from the beginning of this summer that Luka Modric would not be sold, even though the player himself made it perfectly clear he wanted to move to Chelsea. Modric is still a Spurs player now and his desire to leave has not affected his performances. Why? Because he has a manager who would not tollerate it.
However, I have to give him a hard time on some points. He does himself no favours when he claims players leave Arsenal for Man City for financial reasons only:
“Frankly, if you compare what Manchester City have won in the past and what Arsenal have won, then you don’t go to Manchester City to win titles. Players go to Manchester City because they pay much better than Arsenal.”
Talking about history in the sense of hundreds of years is a ridiculous point to make. The fact is, City finished above us last season and actually won a trophy, which hasn’t happened here since 2005. How he can claim you’d choose Arsenal over Man City for the prospect of winning trophies is beyond me. A look at the current league table would back that up as well. Nasri has swapped 10th place for 1st place.
The money of Chelsea wasn’t exactly a problem back when Arsenal were winning trophies every season. When Abrhamovic first bought the Blues they showed some interest in the likes of Vieira and Henry, but there was no way they were going to get them because Arsenal were title favourites. In fact if you look at Chelsea’s first few signings in the Abrhamovic era, they were all big fish in small ponds kinds of players: Damien Duff from Blackburn, Wayne Bridge from Southampton, Joe Cole from relegated West Ham, Geremi from Middlesbrough and Adrian Mutu from Parma. Big names didn’t go to Stamford Bridge until some silverware was won.
Robin van Persie is the star of this current Arsenal side, and Wenger needs to start showing a bit more ambition if he wants to keep him. Money will only be a factor in the sense that it will need to be spent on players who can provide the Dutchman with more assists than the brainless Theo Walcott.