WTTGT Writer: Jay James Waller
This summer was arguably Arsene Wenger’s most challenging at the helm of Arsenal football club. Key players left, and the doubts continued to grow over whether the Frenchman can produce a winning formula in his ongoing experiment. But despite all the events of the past few months, he continues to be regarded as one of the very finest managers in world football. So what exactly did Arsene get right this summer?
5. Allowed Cesc Fabregas to leave
Many have claimed that holding on to Cesc Fabregas this summer would have proved something of a point, even Arsene himself. But, in reality, it was always conceivable that his time at Arsenal would not last forever and every transfer window brought with it even more uncertainty concerning his future. However, despite all the rumours and doubts, Arsene still managed to not only hold on to Cesc, but also produce the best from a player who was just as important as a captain as he was a role model to the next generation of young guns. Ultimately, however, Cesc was a man who wanted to be elsewhere and while of course no one would have wished him to depart North London, this summer was arguably the ideal time to let go of the Catalonian. Of course if there is indeed an ideal time to sell your best player.
4. Sold Emmanuel Eboue
Emmanuel Eboue was rather something of a cult hero amongst Arsenal fans. While his attitude was unquestionable, the quality of his performances were arguably often the opposite and it would be more than fair to say that the Ivorian never endured the best of times under Arsene Wenger. His Arsenal career could be typically epitomised by that infamous afternoon against Wigan Athletic, which saw him brought on as an early substitute only to be taken off again later to a chorus of boos and whistles from the home support. Now, although no one can begrudge Emmanuel for always having a smile on his face and a song in his heart, a move away from the club was always going to be the best solution for himself and everybody concerned so to bring in £3.5m for the much scapegoat 28-year-old was undoubtedly a smart move by Arsene.
3. Signed Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
In terms of signing up and coming prospects, Arsene Wenger has to be lauded as the very best. Time after time he has brought up young talents and engineered them into world class players. The likes of Cesc Fabregas, Thierry Henry and Nicolas Anelka are but three of the dozens of players who have him to thank for forming their career and so it came as no surprise when highly rated 18-year-old Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made the move to the Emirates this summer. In his debut season as a professional player Alex scored 10 goals for Southampton and earned 3 assists after coming on as a substitute for England’s U21 side, not to mention winning a penalty. But, while many will feel that the £15m transfer fee should have been put towards proven players, you can’t deny that Arsene has plucked himself another very exciting youngster to be molded.
2. Made Robin van Persie captain
With the departure of captain Cesc Fabregas, Arsene Wenger was required to appoint a player who would lead the team into the 2011/12 season. Candidates included the likes of commanding Belgian captain Thomas Vermaelen, Russian skipper Andrey Arshavin and even Frenchman Bacary Sagna who was in with a chance for the vacancy. But with a squad lavished in international captains, the armband was awarded to a truly natural leader in frontman Robin van Persie. While the appointment of the Dutchman in itself was a great decision, the way that Arsene didn’t delay in his selection was just as positive for the team and for the club as a whole.
1. Brought in proven players
Arsene Wenger once rather ironically asserted, “about Fabregas leaving, Nasri leaving – if you give that message out you cannot pretend you are a big club”. So, for Arsene to have watched both players exit this summer must have been deeply frustrating, but ultimately it was down to him to make ammends and react accordingly. Wenger found himself in a race against time to bring in players who were capable and experienced enough to come straight into the side, and before the transfer window slammed shut he delivered the signatures of Mikel Arteta, Yossi Benayoun, Per Mertesacker and Andre Santos to fill in the gaps. And, while it would be difficult for anyone to argue that these players are world class, these players are precisely the type of which supporters have been pleading Arsene to sign for so long now.
Following on from: Five things Wenger should have done this summer
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