We've all seen the soap opera that's going on at Manchester United these days. First there was the David Moyes Experiment, and when that went south in a hurry, United turned to a more established, more successful manager in Louis van Gaal, fresh from a stint managing the Netherlands' national team and, prior to that, Bayern Munich.
Many people thought that the marriage of LvG and MUFC would result in a return to, if not the Ferguson years of almost perpetual domination, a restoration of United as a perennial power/title challenger, but that, to be fair, hasn't really happened - United are good, but they're not put-the-fear-of-God-in-you good any more. They're...wobbly.
And that wobbliness has caused a lot of people, both in the fan base and the media, to question van Gaal's tenure at the club. There have been rumors that he has two games to save his job, and the atmosphere around Old Trafford is not the most hospitable at the moment, to say the least.
Today, Arsene Wenger was asked his thoughts about the van Gaal situation, and he responded in typical Arsene fashion: with disappointment at the way a colleague has been treated:
"I do not want to go in a world of speculation," Wenger said, when asked about the link between United and Mourinho. "I, personally, have a huge respect for Louis van Gaal and I think what is going on there is disrespectful. This guy has worked for 30 years in football and has delivered unbelievable quality of work. I think it is a bit disrespectful what is going on there. Of course, he deserves more time."
I love the fact that Wenger is willing to express disappointment at the van Gaal situation - even though Manchester United are a rival, he has enough respect for van Gaal's body of work that he felt the need to speak out in defense of managers and their work.
He also touches on the rumors of Pep Guardiola heading to England, saying:
"I think Guardiola is, of course, a top-quality manager - nobody would dispute that. Not so much for what he has won already, because Bayern won before, Barcelona still wins today, but I think about the positive attitude he has towards the game and the fact he wants his team to play football in a positive way. I respect that highly."
One of the other things he mentions is the "balance" that the Premier League needs to find between finding the best foreign talent and ensuring that English talent - be it player or coach - continue to be developed to preserve the English culture.
(not mentioned: Jose Mourinho)
In this day and age of cutthroat competition and relentless marching towards the Next Big Thing, it's kind of refreshing to hear a manager speak out in defense of his colleagues, even if those colleagues are his main rivals.