Arsenal legend Ian Wright has spoken in support of Arsene Wenger amidst speculation about manager leaving the club after season end.
Arsene Wenger marks his 20th year anniversary as Arsenal manager in what seems to be his final season. The boss is yet to sign an extension, however there are rumours the board is keen to offer him a two-year contract in order to prevent the FA from luring him as the next England manager.
Questions have been raised and the Gunners boss has received harsh criticism in the last few years over his inability to bring a Premier League trophy to the Emirates. Arsenal hasn’t won the league in the last 12 seasons and this has led to few supporters demanding a fresh start next season.
However, Arsenal legend Ian Wright believes it is more because of the players than Wenger himself who have let Arsenal down in the last few years.
Speaking on the BBC’s Premier League Show, Wright admitted Wenger ‘got really soft’ in the transfer market but the Frenchman should stay at least three more years at the club.
“I would give him another three years, simply because I think he’s put a lot of faith into a lot of squads who have let him down miserably. So badly,” Wright said as reported by the Daily Mail.
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“I always curse the fact I didn’t have more time with him. I’d have loved to have been around ‘the Invincibles’ but it hurts me to the core to see us not really challenge for the last years.
“This is what I say to Arsenal fans. Be careful about how disrespectful you are to him because once he is gone you will realise, as much as it’s been barren, he’s taken the club global and changed the way people think about Arsenal.
“The fact is they were still singing (boring, boring Arsenal) when we were playing just before Wenger came in.”
Arsene Wenger led Arsenal to three Premier League titles, six FA Cup and Community Shield trophies in his tenure so far. He failed to secure any Champions League accolades and Wright believes the failure to win the final against Barcelona in 2006 has been his undoing. Especially when Thierry Henry who missed two scoring opportunities left the club a year later and went on to win the Champions League with the Catalans.
(*- That’s not actually Wenger)
“When Thierry (Henry) left and went on with Barcelona to win the Champions League, that was basically saying to the players ‘you’re not going to win the Champions League here’.
“That made me quite sad when it happened.”
The former Arsenal striker thinks letting Robin Van Persie leave for Old Trafford was also a wrong decision on Wenger’s behalf.
“Then for Robin van Persie to go to Man United and score all the goals like he did, they literally won the league with his goals”, Wright added.
“I don’t think they would have won it without it. I think that somewhere along the line Arsene Wenger got really soft on that.”
While impatience from the fans is understandable, Wright is correct to state the influence and impact Wenger has had in his tenure at Arsenal. The Frenchman has revolutionised football at the club and it is disheartening to see how a certain percentage of the Gunners have started taking him for granted. Be careful what you wish for, a difficult time awaits ahead.