10 Reasons Why Arsenal Must Stick with Arsene Wenger
There have been tons of suggestions around the Internet that an FA Cup trophy would be the perfect way for Wenger to bow out after an 18-year stint as Arsenal's most successful manager. Perhaps the Frenchman has achieved all he can at the club.
But there is more yet to do and many reasons why he should stay. Here are 10 of them.
Only Sir Alex Ferguson has managed a single club in the English top flight for longer than Arsene Wenger.
That stability is invaluable and almost unheard of in the modern game. It is why Manchester United signed David Moyes to a six-year contract when Ferguson retired and why clubs like Tottenham can never seem to play at a consistently high level.
The fact that Wenger knows and has picked his entire coaching staff and squad is a massive mark in his favor and makes it ever more difficult to let him go.
Unavailability of Replacements
If Wenger leaves, someone will have to replace him. And who, exactly, will that be?
Jurgen Klopp and Roberto Martinez are names that quickly spring to mind, but the former has committed to Borussia Dortmund until 2018 and the latter will almost certainly not leave Everton after just one season, especially if the Toffees make it to the Champions League.
Pep Guardiola is tied to Bayern Munich, so who else is there? Wenger's mentee, Dragan Stojkovic, will probably be available, as will Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp. But Arsenal would do well to get someone with a bit more top-flight experience than them.
What Wenger lacks in tactical nous, he somewhat makes up for in his ability to identify and recruit young talent.
A hallmark of his reign has been bringing in starlets and nursing them to maturity. This is a skill that no other manager would quite be able to match and one that will continue to set Arsenal up for future success.
Nurturing Present Youth
There are still many young players at the club who have and would continue to benefit from Wenger's tutelage.
Gedion Zelalem, Serge Gnabry and Yaya Sanogo are just beginning to make their respective impacts but slightly older faces like Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil could all still reap the rewards of Wenger's instruction.
After working with Wenger for so long, it would disrupt their development if the manager moved on.
Relationships with Players
On transfer deadline day last summer, Arsene Wenger made a phone call to Mesut Ozil to convince him to join Arsenal. He reportedly spoke in perfect German and that conversation ultimately proved decisive.
That anecdote speaks to the fatherly relationship that Wenger has with many of his players. Since he usually shepherds them through their several years with Arsenal, they develop a special bond.
So, presumably, when Wenger leaves, many of Arsenal's players will not feel the same pull of affection to the club. Thomas Vermaelen has already stated that the entire dressing room wants the manager to stay.
Now He Can Spend Money
Now that the financial shackles of Arsenal's move to the Emirates Stadium have been lifted, Wenger can finally use his scouting ability to its full potential and purchase the best talent from around the world.
Arsenal will never be Real Madrid in that respect, but this will be a very tumultuous off-season, with several players looking likely to depart and the World Cup intervening.
For once, the manager can finally engage in a rebuilding project with the resources necessary to do so.
Blame for This Season Does Not Just Lie with Him
At one point or another since the beginning of 2014, Arsenal have had to deal with the absences of Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, Mesut Ozil, Abou Diaby, Laurent Koscielny, Tomas Rosicky, Nacho Monreal and Kieran Gibbs—often for very long stretches.
Perhaps some of the blame lies at Wenger's feet—due to poor squad rotation, for example—but Wenger has not had much opportunity to use his full and undoubtedly very talented squad. This has been one of Arsenal's most injury-plagued seasons in recent memory.
Whether that is down to bad luck, a shoddy medical staff or some combination of the two, the fact is that Arsenal are, and have been, severely depleted for almost the entire season. Surely that should not cost Wenger his job.
The Potential Is There
Imagine what Arsenal could have done without all the injuries from which they have suffered this season.
Actually, it's not that hard to do so—just remember when Arsenal peeled off several wins on the trot early in the campaign before being hit with all the injuries mentioned in the previous slide and seeing their confidence slip.
Sure, those wins were against relatively meager opposition and there is still a considerable mental block when the Gunners face any big side, but it is difficult to think that with the pace and dynamic creative ability of Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil in the side at once, Arsenal would not have fared better.
As long as those pieces are there, Wenger can be successful.
The Feeling's Mutual
A manager must always have a good relationship with his club's upper management, and Wenger especially so, since he plays such a prominent role in conducting Arsenal's transfer business.
Luckily, he enjoys the full support of Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis and owner Stan Kroenke.
Any new manager would not enjoy that sort of faith and trust, which is liberating—it allows him to take risks in the transfer market and with his tactics.
For the reverse, see: Moyes, David.
He Is Already Planning for the Future
Wenger has to strengthen the squad this summer, and we are likely to see a revamped Arsenal side going into the 2014-15 campaign.
He has already said that he and the club are planning their summer deals in advance, which is welcome news considering how Arsenal were engaged in protracted and unsuccessful negotiations for multiple strikers before ultimately springing for Mesut Ozil last summer at the last second.
Wenger could discuss his plans for Arsenal's future with whomever Arsenal's new manager might be, but Arsenal would be much better served in the long-run if he stuck around and oversaw what will probably be the last overhaul of a relatively stable squad for a while.