FanPost

Why Wenger Deserves to keep his Job

This is a rebuttal of B2D's "How Arsenal's awful performance could lead to replacing Wenger". Note, this is not some sort of personal attack or something. I respect your opinion; I just think it's wrong and here's why. Reader, you can make your own assumptions.

Arsené Wenger has been in charge of Arsenal since 1996. Since then, he has won every title available in England (except the League Cup for some reason) and has made it to the UEFA Champion's League final (and would have likely done so again except for some referee shenanigans, terrible draws, injuries, the advent of the modern Oil-Club, and an overall lack of luck). He also led the only Top Tier English team (at least since the advent of the modern rules of football) to go an entire season without losing a single match. Wenger has qualified for an amazing 15 consecutive Champions League tournaments (overall, Arsenal are the 6th most successful team in Europe, entirely under Wenger). Of those, Arsenal have qualified for 12 consecutive knockout rounds (so far). Under Wenger, Arsenal have never finished outside the top four. With him in charge, Arsenal have seen their most consistent and stable period ever. His tenure has also resulted in Arsenal's greatest ever era. Based on these accolades, I argue that Wenger should keep his place until he decides it is time for him to retire.

Of course, past achievements shouldn't necessarily dictate whether a coach deserves to stay in charge. Good thing I have other arguments.

Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta are great examples of why Wenger should stay in charge.

Santi Cazorla came to this side from a Malaga that needed to shed some of it's assets (though they are doing extremely well in both League and international play, nonetheless). Santi Cazorla is an extremely talented player who starts with Spain's International team. He is a two (consecutive) time winner of the European Championship and a World Cup Winner. He is 27. He came to Arsenal for an estimated £16,500,000. That is a pittance. Just to join Malaga, the team paid approximately £16,800,000 only the year before. Since then, he has only gotten better. Cazorla is an excellent example of just how good Arsené is at getting good players for reasonable values. Because of his work, Arsenal have not had to spend two or three times what they have in order to get players of equal value.

Mikel Arteta is another example of a great acquisition. While Cazorla was a known tremendous talent, Arteta was much less sought after. He came to the club for a reported £10,000,000. The Barcelona graduate has not found time with the Spanish National Team, mostly because of the tremendous depth ahead of him ( Iniesta, Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Busquets. With the exception of Busquets, all of these players are within 2 years of Arteta's age). However, he was a huge part of the Everton squad he left, with 162 caps for the midtable team. Last season, Arteta was arguably more important than Robin van Persie, with only a single game won without him. That is because of how sound Arteta is when on the ball. He is the tempo keeper of the team. His positioning towards the defensive end of midfield also means that he helps shield the defense and makes vastly important interceptions. Arteta's passing rate this season has been sublime, consistently getting over 90% pass completion rate. Based on impact on the team, Arteta is arguably the best signing in the premier league in the past two years. However, if the team were focused solely on securing well known talent, he would not have been brought onto the side. Wenger should be applauded for finding an outstanding player who came with a grossly low price tag.

Wenger should also be applauded for the money he has brought in. Recently, this has been a source of issue with fans. However, Arsenal's transfer rate has been splendid. With Barcelona alone, Arsenal have sent out 7 players (Marc Overmars, Emmanuel Petit, Giovanni Van Bronckhorst, Thierry Henry, Alexander Hleb, Cesc Fabregas, and Alex Song) to make a profit of £60.7 million (I subtracted out what it cost to bring the players in to Arsenal in the first place). Mind you, almost none of players have been particularly good for Barcelona and only one has even matched his time with Arsenal. Three of those players were either disasters for Barca or simply not very good. One player was poor for Arsenal but improved at Barcelona. Henry, Fabregas, and Song all spend/t a large amount of time on the bench in Catalonia (though Henry did score a good amount). While we all hate Barcelona for trying to swoop in and steal our players, it is quite impressive how they have mostly failed to succeed with what they have deemed the worthy parts of Arsenal (despite being in an easier league). That is a testament to Wenger's team building and his shrewd business sense.

Arsenal have also been a tremendous creator of talent under Wenger. The Frenchman has identified a number of players who have become extremely successful after their move to Arsenal. They include Cesc Fabregas, Henry, Robin van Persie, Alex Song, Theo Walcott etcetera. The youth club has also been prolific with Fabregas, Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs, and more coming into the squad and becoming international level players (if not truly great talents).

Finally, there is the case of who would actually be better than Wenger. At this time, it seems that Arsenal's main problem is that the team cannot keep a consistent lineup year to year because other teams can double or triple what Arsenal can pay. I do not really see how this is a problem with the manager, so much so as a problem with European soccer in general. (Of note, if Financial Fair Play works, Arsenal may in fact be greatly strengthened thanks to their excellent economic plans while the other clubs who actively poach from us will suffer). If you read the excellent book, Soccernomics, you will know that team wage bill is the single best predictor of a team's placement. In 2010, Arsenal were the 5th highest spending club in England, in terms of wages. That season, Arsenal finished 3rd. The difference between expected and actual league placement can usually be attributed to the manager. Arsené Wenger has been the second most over-achieveing manager in England, second only to Sir Alex Ferguson (who is not coming to Arsenal). There simply is no manager in the world who can do what Wenger has.

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