Is Arsene Wenger a frustrated headmaster?

by Charlie Coffey

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Arsene Wenger doesn’t like to spend big as it would break his tradition of bringing through young talent, but more significantly because it would go against the know-it-all image he has nurtured for himself.

Wenger seems satisfied to sacrifice silverware to maintain his smug aura. ‘The Professor’ may be called so because he is more like a school P.E teacher than a football manager these days. He likes nothing more than the warm praise of a room full of journalists after one of his teams of multinational 16-year-olds has demolished lower league opposition in the Carling Cup.

In such situations Wenger has nothing to lose. If he wins he is a genius. If he does not he is praised for his excellent youth policy regardless. The fact that only a tiny percentage of his young players are English does not seem to matter to most people.

Does a transfer policy that depends so heavily on youth work? Wenger clearly has a lot to offer to young boys, but does this policy make for good dressing room harmony or does he need to bring in some old heads with proven experience to show them the ropes and help them to cope with Wenger’s clever tactics and complex mind games?

Arsenal have not tasted victory in the league since the unbelievable season he enjoyed when his ‘untouchables’ lifted the Premier League trophy unbeaten in 2004. Wenger has had to bide his time at Arsenal before revealing the extent of his penchant for youth. It has not almost been this way. Of the 2004 team the only first team regulars under the age of 26 were Ashley Cole, Kolo Toure, Cesc Fabregas and Jose Antonio Reyes. Experienced heads such as Sol Campbell, Gilberto Silva and Jens Lehmann to name but a few led the way in adversity.

If Wenger did go out and spend big on an Edin Dzeko or even a Hulk, and they did not live up to their price tag, his image would be shattered. Wenger prides himself on not just investing in talented youngsters but also on balancing the book at Arsenal, selling players like Vieira and Henry while they still drew large fees despite their significance to the team.

Although these frugal decisions have earned Wenger the trust of the board and a ‘job for life’, Wenger is by no means infallible. He almost certainly got rid of Gilberto Silva, who continues to play a pivotal role for Brazil, to soon.

Most Arsenal fans must surely be hoping that Arsene Wenger breaks with tradition and spends the money that his employers have insisted is available to him. The question is if he is willing to swallow his pride and put his head, and his reputation, on the line.

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  • Stevie

    well he’s just signed big Sol who is hardly a young player!

    And what if they took a gamble on that Hulk bloke and turned out to be a turkey? Bendtner is almost fit so he sees him as a new a signing.

    Its a tricky one with Arsenal, win a few games and they don’t need players, lose a few and their squad is to young.

    All I would say the future is very bright for Arsenal. Where as look at the mess both Liverpool & Man United are and it’s a matter of years before both Chelsea and City are in the same mess

  • Gooner24

    I just hope this isn’t our major January signing!

  • Tef1on

    he hasnt got the cash to spend, i serously think the board wont let him have any.

  • Dan

    if you look at the way the club is run it’s all about financial stability. They have got it spot on and deserve credit.

    I read this morning that Liverpool are willing to pay 25m for an average forward who scores 1 goal every 4 games, what a joke and wonder they are in a mess. Wenger wouldn’t even pay 7m for him!!

  • yobo

    yeah, Wenger’s bricked himself into a corner. Gone are the days of wasting money on players like Wiltord, just in case they turn out to be good…

  • Darren

    there was nothing wrong with Wiltord, he did a job, he scored goals for us. Reyes, on the other hand, was a total waste of money! He was a poor mans Walcott, and that is saying something!!

  • dexylongshot

    25 m for Marouane Chamakh or should that be just Mak! No way is he worth that, they should put the extra 5million on top and go for Villa and offload some deadwood. Silly Rafa.

  • dexylongshot

    PS: Good Work Charlie!!!

  • Tef1on

    I keep hearing people say Arsenal need someone like Eto’o, Drogba, Rooney, a world renown striker… Who wants to go to a club where they wont pay you more than 40k a week and havn’t won a trophy for 4 years?

    End of the day yes we are top 3, (yes i am discarding the top 4 stance, Liverpool are definitely not even top 10 these days and i refuse to recognize City or Spurs as a “big club”) but no one would sign for us unless we paid them well… I think Arshavin was so desperate to leave Russia he came to us, if Barce had gone in do you think hed be in london now?

  • Tef1on

    and out of interest… whats hilariously wrong about this video…,26691,12606_5857971,00.html

  • dexylongshot

    not sure Tef?
    tickle me son, tickle me with it!

  • Tef1on

    It was recorded yesterday, he’s wearing an Arsenal shirt… not being funny but didnt he turn his back on Arsenal, insult the whole club in every way possible and then he does an interview wearing an Arsenal shirt? Wonder what City think about it?

  • Tef1on

    just realized the link doesnt work properly making me look like a right muppet

  • Dan

    looks like won’t and doesnt really need to spend, top of the league on Wednesday!

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