Wenger’s Turned Arsenal Into A Soft Touch – It’s Time To Go

Welcome to the cult of Arsenal and the cult of Arsene, in whom we trust, even when the evidence is so strong against Le Professeur.

Arsenal need a new manager, a new direction and Arsene Wenger, a man who has given English football the ‘Invincibles’ and many memorable moments needs a new challenge.

I must declare an interest here, I’ve met Arsene many times, most notably at World Cups and Euros where he often pops up on the same flight, or waiting in a departure lounge. The man himself is a gentleman, witty, funny and exactly what you expect of a Grand Homme of the game.

But don’t confuse that with his waning talents as a manager, and waning they are.

Cut The Cord
Arsenal fans if I’m being blunt, or a certain section at least, don’t want to come off the teat, they can’t cut the cord. That is the only reason and the wrong reason to keep any manager, let alone at possibly the most competitive time in Premier League history.

Diego Simeone has illustrated with bells and whistles what Arsenal lack.

If you watched Atletico triumph over Barca, you can’t fail to be impressed by the leadership, individual and collective responsibility, work rate and the thou shall not pass mentality of the capital club.

This is what Arsenal football club need. Passion, leadership and drive. You add that to their undoubted ability this season and they walk the league. As great as the Leicester story is, in the Premier League (clue is in the title folks), it should be a given that players work hard, have individual and collective responsibility on the pitch, but with the quality of a premium product on top. This is what Arsenal could have achieved this season but like so many of the last 10 attempts, the obvious traits of winners were woefully lacking.

Some Arsenal fans said “no thanks” last night when I tweeted Simeone must be considered as a new boss. Some came back with the predictable “he doesn’t fit our style” busllshit too. What style is that? Bottling it every season? Being the nicest team in Europe? Winning the 6 game FA Cup, beating 3 minnows along the way?

Kindling the Emirates faithful with stock lines in post-match interviews like “we have the character this season, we have the belief.” No they don’t, they are a technically very good team with shrinking violets who most of the time are flat-track bullies. They are soft, and in this season of all seasons, a team with a tenth of the ability but 10 times the heart will prove that.

Another question raised was “Why would Simeone come to Arsenal?” Well in my best Blue Peter voice, here’s a few I cooked up earlier.

Atleti are in debt, they have to sell their best players on an annual basis. Arsenal aren’t in debt, they have more cash in the back than Atletico Madrid will have if they win the next 5 Champions Leagues. A manager worth his salt likes to build a team and Arsenal are in a much better position to do that than Atleti in the coming seasons.

And Simeone’s style doesn’t fit Arsenal? Complete rubbish. Just because Atleti defend well and Arsenal don’t, please don’t confuse this as a contrast of styles.

Watch Atleti in many games this season and they can play attractive, open, fast-paced football with the best of them.

Long Term Plan
“Simeone would be better suited at Chelsea.” Really? Well it’s not happening due to Conte but let’s suggest for a moment the Italian isn’t going to the Bridge. Simeone likes consistency, is a benign dictator and likes things his way. Remind you of Arsene and his hex over the Arsenal board? Contrast that with the annual madness at Chelsea where its greatest ever manager was turfed out 8 months after winning a title and Arsenal are an infinitely better long term bet than Chelsea to shape a club in your own image, something Simeone has done at Atleti.

“He played for Atleti, so wants to stay and be loyal forever”

Nice sentiment, but a cheque for 15 million a year at the Emirates will soon cure that!

Fear Factor
Arsenal is a great domestic English club with a poor legacy in Europe. To get one they need a hard-nosed pragmatist who will drag the club up by its bootstraps, win the Premier League and go into continental football being respected and feared. Neither Barca, Bayern or Real currently fear Arsenal. They all say “It will be a tough game, yada yada..” but in reality the big boys look at Arsenal as a relatively soft touch to overcome on their way to European glory, and that’s the truth.

You get Diego and you win, home and abroad. And the fact you won’t this summer means your board indeed is only interested in the numbers and not the bottom line. Winning.