Time for Wenger to move on or move out
Booed after their first home league game of the season, winless in the Premier League and facing a very real chance of failing to qualify for the Champions League. Wenger, however, remains defiant - or perhaps stubborn?
August 22nd, 2011
The unseasonal downpour at the Emirates on Saturday afternoon seemed the perfect metaphor for Arsenal’s summer, as the patience of the ‘In Arsene we Trust’ movement was stretched thinner still with a 2-0 home defeat to Liverpool – a club with whom the levels of optimism and anticipation could not be more contrasting.
With Clichy and Fabregas gone, Nasri going and seemingly no players of note coming in as of yet, the pressure on Wenger is mounting with every turn of the calendar before transfer deadline day. With the best part of £50m in the kitty before the sale of Nasri, the Emirates faithful have been urging their manager of 15 years to finally go on one mad trolley dash.
The fear once again though is that the pleas will fall on deaf ears, given that Wenger has failed to get the chequebook out in the past when it has seemed to be the answer to his problems. Ever since the departure of Mathieu Flamini, he has lacked bite and strength in midfield, he has haggled his way out of solutions to his goalkeeping problems, baulking at a demand of more than £2m for Mark Schwarzer, and he has failed to address some glaring issues in his back four.
Wenger’s rebuttal is that spending money does not guarantee success and that he will spend money on the “right” players. There is credence to the claim, given that Leeds United didn’t see much of a return on their £100m+ outlay at the turn of the millennium and it was the defence that the Gunner’s chief leapt to again post-match on Saturday.
“You can spend money and have a bad team,” he said. “We want the supporters to be happy and when we don’t win games we understand they are not.”
The problem for Wenger is that the defence doesn’t hold much water whilst the trophy cabinet remains bare. His “philosophy” or “project” isn’t working and the approach needs to change. This isn’t an aging side that should be “in transition”, this is still a largely young side playing with enthusiasm, getting results and winning trophies.
The playing of Nasri didn’t highlight a determination to keep Nasri but instead, a delusion that Nasri will stay. If the French midfielder plays against Udinese on Wednesday night, it is likely to scupper any move to Eastlands and highlight Wenger’s inability to move on.
And it is that stubbornness that could and perhaps should cost Wenger his job. He Wenger can’t move with the times, the time will come for Arsenal to move him on.