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Who Should Replace Wenger, And When?

Who Should Replace Wenger, And When?

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.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Tuesday November 13 2012
Time: 7:11AM


Wow. Pretty ruthless Elbondo! I must say it is starting to wear thin. Nothing has changed in the last four years, we're stuck in a rut, same results, same mistakes on field, same mistake off field, losing our best players. It's getting old to say the least. I guess I'm a little more sentimental than you because I'm struggling with my inner turmoil over Wenger, but if Guardiola was willing to come to Arsenal I would be very tempted to go all Jean Luc Picard on your asses and say "make it so!".
13/11/2012 07:28:00
It's a tricky one. Wenger is still, regardless of the maelstrom of strong feeling at the moment, highly regarded. No other club in our position would go 2-0 down at Old Trafford and chant about the CEO. Every change people have asked for has happened. We have a new assistant manager. We have a new owner. We have a new CEO. We have a completely new playing staff compared to 2008. All these ways of deflecting blame away from AW have happened. There is only one constant. Ultimately, for me, it comes down to this. If you are unhappy with where Arsenal are at the moment and think it should be changed, then it's the manager that you really want to be changing. I'm undecided myself, I don't think a thing will change under AW, that much is clear. I don't buy the 2014 pot of gold at the end of the rainbow because we already have plenty of cash we don't spend year on year, so I'm not sure I believe he's gonna start flexing his muscles in 2014. I find it hard to get distance and perspective as to whether we're where we should be, overachieveing or underachieveing. I just don't know and I don't think I will until the next manager comes in- whenever that is- and we assess his performance under similar conditions. I'm also not really sure I trust Gazidis and Kroenke to come up with a good replacement. Good businessmen they may be, but I doubt their football knowledge for such a decision.
Little Dutch
13/11/2012 08:04:00
The major factors that have to change in order to change our fortunes are all more external than internal. In order to best City, Chelsea and ManU consistently we have to consistently spend more money than they do. It's that simple. Bringing in someone else in the hope that he'll be able to spend for one year but without the same ability to generate his own funds will eventually have less to spend in relative terms is pretty well guaranteed to fail. Whoever comes in at present will still only be able to buy the players City and Chavs (or Barca & Real) don't want until football rebalances itself. Can he do more with such a group of players? Maybe, maybe not, but while I'm all for bringing someone better in, on any rational analysis any of the names mentioned would just be change for change's sake. Maybe that's what we need but without any other changes don't expect to be any happier.
13/11/2012 08:25:00
I see your point, Amos, but I look at United and their squad last year that almost took them to a whisker of the title and really apart from Rooney and Vidic (mostly injured) who of their squad last year can really be called truly world-class? And even Rooney is only really world-class in the PL (if that makes any sense). For me, AW's time has run its course and for whatever reason he's not able to take the next step forward he so desperately wants. AW's magic used to be finding unpolished gems and turning them into stars but recently his transfer record hasn't been that great. The fact that on our books we've still got the likes of Squillaci, Bendtner and Denilson, we have two largely unused 1st team squad players in Chamakh and Arshavin, then the forever injured Rosicky and Diaby, and then average players like Gervinho and Ramsey, is all down to AW's mistakes in my opinion. Perhaps he's just become too ingrained into the Club and both parties could do with a break. I read recent Graham Hunter's book on Barcelona and everything about Pep Guardiola really impresses me, from his sheer drive to his attention to detail. According to Guillem Balague he isn't one to be motivated just by money, he wants the right project. Whilst we don't have the spending powers of the others, being in London and having a not to dissimilar style of play to Barca may tempt him. My feeling is it's almost a once in a lifetime chance to get one of the world's highest regarded managers and we should go all out to get him.
13/11/2012 09:13:00
It’s probably a case of whether you believe someone else can get more out of our resources. I think the frustration for most is that they realise we can’t compete with the likes of Chelsea and City. But we leave vast sums unspent and handicap ourselves even further. I definitely don’t think Arsenal try to win the league in any serious way. I think we aim for fourth. I’m not saying we should win the league, but I think we could be doing more to compete within our resources.
Little Dutch
13/11/2012 09:38:00
Wenger bought plenty of fool's gold along with the diamonds when we were winning things too Malz, Jeffers, Stepanovs et al. Nothings changed there except that we now have to compete with clubs that are willing to pay more for those good players that are around as well as those we unearth. He'll still come up with players like Cazorla occasionally though. It maybe that Wenger's time is running its course. Frustrations grow when expectations haven't been met and pressure grows until something gives or the pressure is released. But if nothing else changes, expecting Guardiola to do better than City and Chavs consistently without outspending or at the least matching their player budget spend consistently is just fanciful dreaming. He'll have exactly the same problems Wenger has unless the landscape changes. ManU have benefited from being able to maintain a consistent squad with few coveting many of their players apart from Rooney. It's getting harder for them to compete as time goes on too though they have enough resources to maintain a standard for the present.
13/11/2012 09:47:00
Spending our entire cash reserves wouldn't guarantee that we'd end up any higher than we had in the last 6 or 7 years. In fact while it might have made 3 or 4 th more comfortable for a season or so the resulting amortisation charges and consequent restrictions on player budgets would have made the seasons after that much less comfortable. For us to compete much better than we have done the competition will have to change. Until then changing managers is just chasing rainbows.
13/11/2012 09:56:00
"My feeling is it's almost a once in a lifetime chance to get one of the world's highest regarded managers and we should go all out to get him" - we already have one of the world's finest. To boot him out in a childish strop because we haven't won anything for a few years - in a league that includes two lottery-winning teams - would be ridiculous, and we would regret it. "I definitely don’t think Arsenal try to win the league in any serious way" - riiiight. The management, squad and manager are satisfied with not winning. Life is short and you only get a limited time to make your mark; but they're deliberately running at 80% because they want to finish fourth, but definitely don't want to win anything. Sweet Mary....
13/11/2012 10:32:00
Some people find reason frustrating others are frustrated by the lack of it. Sure we all know the dice are heavily loaded but if we can just find some one who can roll them better then they're bound to land the way we want them to. That's perfectly reasonable surely?
13/11/2012 10:38:00
Yeah, if we knew of a better gambler/dice-roller, that we knew could do a better job - lovely. As it is, we have one the most highly-respected managers in the world, and the best manager in our history, at our club. If we could get a 40-year-old Fergie, or Mourinho + £2billion, that would probably be worth taking a punt on. Pep - lovely though he is - was in a set of special circumstances at Barca, with the world's best player up-front and a big chunk of the most successful national team in history, the Catalan mentality, and so on. To expect him to do a better job than Arsene, in a league he has no knowledge of, is... well, pick your own adjective.
13/11/2012 11:26:00
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