Arsene Wenger presided the helm of affairs at Highbury, he requested the club
management to procure the signing of a rather unknown, lanky Frenchman namely
Patrick Vieira; who, as we all know, went on to become club captain, legend,
generation’s best holding midfielder and an apt symbol of the
ethnically-diverse, multi-lingual, tranquil continental force, that was the Arsenal.
Through that move, Arsene established a legacy which
went on to conquer much greater heights in the years to follow. And now looking
back at the seasons gone by, we applaud in amazement at le prof’ ability
to hand-pick astute buys from the market before others could.
which cost the club zilch when compared to astronomical sums doing rounds
elsewhere, ‘Players’, which fit perfectly into the ‘Arsenal Way’ and not
the other way around, and most importantly buying them young so that in time
they acquired a sizeable sell-off value, supposing they decided to move on.
One need not be a rocket scientist to trace the
genesis behind his trend-defying methods – his colossal knowledge of the game
and his degree in economics!
Players like Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Freddie
Ljungberg came and went during his spell at N5, winning silverware and playing an
eclectic brand of football, previously unheard of.
Despite winning the connoisseurs’ vote and
enthralling football audiences across stadiums, success was never ‘bought’
under his able tutelage. He preferred spotting talent early (courtesy an
extensive network of scouts across the globe) and moulding them as Arsenal
players instead. This not only helped our youth team excel and ease their
transition into the first team, but also won a lot of plaudits for it was
Lack of silverware for a lengthier than expected spell
(Eight seasons, counting!) meant the more ambitious (read: greedy) players
chose to bid adieu to the club and the man, who gave them a chance when no else
would’ve even seen them dribble. This unfortunate turn of events meant each
season a team which seemed destined for some onfield glory, disintegrated and
withered at the penultimate moment, much to the anguish of the Arsenal
Arsene’s genius ensured that even then our team
kept qualifying for the much-coveted Champion’s League despite spending pittance
when compared to our oil/shit/history-laden peers – Manchester City, Tottenham
Hotspur, Liverpool – who failed at doing so!
All along, Wenger got his economics bang on each time
he decided to offload a player – earning the club big bucks and somehow
managing to find replacements in time without disturbing the rhythm of the club
to a cognisable extent.
Here’s a look at some of the most profitable deals
in the Wenger era –
Now those are astounding figures no matter which
way you look at them!
Note: Even the free-agents went onto become stuff of
folklore (remember Sol Campbell!?)
Another of Wenger’s hallmarks has been his
intuitiveness in deciding exactly when to sell off a player. In all cases
(except for Thierry Henry and Ashley Cole), the players found life difficult
outside the comforts of Highbury/Emirates, with many fading away or not finding
enough success (nor playing time). Notable examples – Alex Hleb, Mathieu Flamini,
Nicolas Anelka, Samir Nasri, Alex Song, etc.
With the advent of FFP regulation around the
corner, you have to doff the hat to Monsieur Arsene for providing the club
enough stability and maturity to compete within its means. And let’s not forget
he won trophies, oversaw Arsenal’s smooth transition into the Emirates and
helped envisage a world-class training facility, youth program and scouting
network (which will keep the club in a healthy state for years to come) alongside
keeping the finances intact.
A warchest of £70m firmly by his side, you can expect
many more miracles from the cerebral genius that is Arsene Wenger. Keep the
faith. There’s only one Arsene Wenger!
Tejaswi Shrivastava, better known as Tazz, founded the first
Arsenal blog in India – 11Gunners, which he is looking to revive in the near