Thursday, August 23, 2007

Wenger to sign a new deal!

As I checked last night I was surprised to find an article similar to this one (I don't remember exactly which it was which I first read) stating that Arsene Wenger, Arsenal's manager since 1996, has agreed to sign a new 3 year deal worth a total of £9 million. Following all of the rumors that Wenger was going to leave after this year, it was great news to hear. Stability is always important at a club, and having a manager who is destined to leave often affects the way a team plays.

However, with all of the rumors, I had already given a lot of thought to the effect that Wenger's resignation could have upon the club, but I hadn't yet decided whether it would be a positive or a negative. Now don't get me wrong, I fully appreciate Wenger's contributions to the club, and he is without a doubt the most successful manager that Arsenal has ever had. However, after successive 4th place finishes in the Premiership and a lack of summer signings, many Arsenal fans (admittedly including myself) began to doubt his ability to lead the club to silverware. His lack of experienced signings has been troubling and has lead to two fourth place finishes being labeled as 'gap years' for the young guns to gain some experience. However, despite these two gap years, many football pundits believe that Arsenal will lose its place in the top 4 to the likes of Everton, Newcastle, Manchester City, or the hated Spurs. While I firmly believe that we will retain our position in the Champion's League spots, this is a bit disturbing, and many people place the blame on Arsene's unwillingness to sign established players at a premium.

Not all of Wenger's transfers are viewed in this negative light however. Many people agree that Wenger is the best manager at scouting out upcoming talents, signing Vieira for £3.5 million, Pires for £6 million, and Freddie Ljunberg for £3 million. While many people are upset about his frugality, it is impossible to question the fact that when he does spend money, he spends it well. Even this summer, the signing of Bacary Sagna has done much to bolster our back line, Lukasz Fabianski looks to be one of the brightest goalkeeping prospects for the future, and Eduardo may add the clinical finishing that our squad was missing last season.

However it is not his signings that make a fan want to keep Wenger. It is the mesmerizing brand of football which his clubs play that first attracted me to Arsenal, and it is this same football that would be sorely missed at Ashburton Grove if Wenger were to leave Arsenal. While he may not sign any big names, he has certainly made many lesser known players stars, and his brand of football has made Arsenal the big name when it comes to attractive football. Rarely relying on long balls, Arsenal's slick passing make Arsenal the most entertaining team in the Premiership. While silverware would be a welcome addition, I will stand by Arsene Wenger as long as he continues to fit players into his mind-numbingly beautiful style of football.

What do you think? Is it worth playing attractively and missing out on silverware? Is it possible to win and play beautifully? Is Wenger the right manager for Arsenal?

Edit: Update on Wenger's new deal