Date:Tuesday November 13 2012
First let's look at who should replace him. There are myriad candidates who would take the job, not as many who are capable. There's some guy in Germany whose name I can't recall - Klopp? He's done a great job at B. Dortmund. There's Pep Guardiola, but his fame is based on managing a perfect storm of fantastic youth players growing up at the same time and the money to buy the world's best to fill the holes. We don't have the first and won't do the latter. Slavin Bilic's name has been tossed around, and while I am not familiar with the Russian League his first season at Lokomotiv Moscow (and at club level in ten years) has his club 14 points behind the leaders after 15 games - like Wenger in a way, 11 off the lead after ten games. David Moyes is flying high with Everton, and there's a guy who REALLY has to watch his spending, no £70m unspent war chest up there. I listened to the Talkshite interview with Piers Morgan - yeah, grain of salt - and he suggested Harry Redknapp, not the best manager but somebody who could motivate the laze group that wears the red and white at the moment. Obviously that's a stupid idea, and we wouldn't expect anything else from Piers (although to give credit where it is due, he has probably raised the profile of Arsenal in North America a lot more than Ivan Gazidis). My choices would be Pep if we were going to open the purse strings, Moyesy if we aren't.
The second question - when do we replace Arsene Wenger? It's easy to get emotional and knee-jerk when you go through a bad patch like we have for the past month or so. But hell, this bad patch is more like four years. Pre-Abramovic and Sheikh Mansour, Arsene went toe-to-toe with Fergie every year. Yes, the landscape has changed, but so has our income with the new stadium. Qualifying for the Champions League doesn't mean shit unless you a) win it or b) spend the money it earned you. We came close to winning it once but have never spent the money. Arsene is letting the supporters down - he has money to spend, apparently - but continues to sell our two best players every year and bring in inferior replacements. If we were still at Highbury and had 1/3 the matchday revenue we have now, whatever. But it seems like the bottom line is all that matters now (obviously, long term success is based on long term financial prudence. I'm not saying spend willy-nilly with no concern for being a sound financial entity. On the other hand, we could bring in Neymar for £50m on huge wages and sell him for double that in two years to Real Madrid and maybe win something with him). Yes, I know I might seem I am contradicting myself by saying buy somebody short term to win and then sell for a profit. But that's business. You just buy somebody else, better. And that's my problem with Arsene - he has sold many world class players, and bought a few too in hindsight. I don't expect him to buy like-for-like, and I do like the players he bought in the summer, but Giroud is no Henry or van Persie and Arteta is no Vieira or Fabregas.
I digress. The time to get rid of Arsene is now. Sure, he'll buy an Arshavin in January like he did a few years ago when we were behind Villa just to make sure we finish in the top four. So what. After Abramovic realised he had a brain-dead manager and fired him (and it is only the incompetence of Villas-Boas that makes me think we might finish in the top four), yeah, United, City, and Chelsea are top three for the foreseeable future. We will never get automatic CL qualification again under this manager.
It's like dating. 'I've been with this woman for sixteen years, it's all nice and comfortable, but it's just not working anymore'. So what do you do - stay with the familiar or take your chances with somebody new. In Arsenal history Wenger is second only to Herbert Chapman, but I say pffft, beat it Arsene, we need a new man for the new era.
Date:Tuesday November 13 2012
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