Arsene Wenger has earned the status of football God and reached plateaus no other individual has touched – but the time has come for him to step down as manager of Arsenal before his impeccable reputation is tainted for good.
Last week’s victory over North London rivals, Tottenham, was not enough to paint over the well-formed cracks as yesterday Arsenal were back to disappointing ways with a characterless performance against Aston Villa at Villa Park.
In spite of his irreverence, Paul Merson said it best yesterday afternoon on Soccer Saturday with: “This is Arsenal Football Club – we’re not Fulham, it’s about winning trophies!” Merson is an Arsenal legend and would be the first to express admiration and respect for his former boss, but this suggests he is finding it hard to settle for Arsenal’s underwhelming influence in recent years.
It may well be that there is no manager out there who can bring trophies to the Emirates instantly. Nevertheless, the fact remains that Wenger has shown he doesn’t have what it takes to rebuild a side which can challenge for honours, and the impetus must now be given to a manager who can bring fresh ideas.
“You weren’t world class when Arsenal signed you” are the famous words uttered to Patrick Viera when he questioned Wenger on his failure to sign world class players. Undoubtedly, Wenger has a very strong record of transforming good players into great players – the trouble is, the last of Arsenal’s world class stars departed this past summer in the form of Robin van Persie, and Wenger’s current batch of players are far from showing signs that they can reach that status.
Wenger has more than earned the right to not be dismissed of his duties, especially midway through a season. The apt thing to happen would be for Wenger, himself, to acknowledge he is not the right man to take Arsenal forward and resign from his post at the end of the season.
It’ll be a very sad day when Wenger leaves Arsenal, but not as sad as this is – watching him wreck the magnificent legacy he created.