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Graham Cummins Column: Time For Change at Arsenal

Exeter City Striker Graham Cummins gives us his thoughts on Arsenal, Arsene Wenger & the need for change in the red half of North London. 

How much more can Arsenal fans take of Arsene Wenger? Inconsistency, rewarded with trophy less season is all that Arsenal supporters can look forward to. Granted Arsenal did win the FA cup last season but is one trophy in ten years what a club of Arsenal’s stature deserve?

Wenger is one of the all-time great managers, but I cannot see Arsenal winning a premier league title under his tenure again. Wenger does boast a proud record as Arsenal manager, winning 3 Premier Leagues and 5 FA Cups with the club. The 2003-2004 season was perhaps Wenger’s greatest accomplishment guiding his side to the title without a single defeat. I just cannot see Arsene Wenger achieving anything like this again.

If anyone has ever watched the film Semi-Pro than that’s what I would imagine the Arsenal dressing room must be like at the end of the season. Will Ferrell’s team are over-joyed to finish in fourth spot and I’m sure the same can be probably said about the Arsenal team. Fourth should not be acceptable to a club like Arsenal.

Yes they have had to balance the books with the move from Highbury to the Emirates, which made it difficult to compete in the transfer market with other English sides. Those finances have improved considerably but still Wenger refuses to spend big on three or four world class players. Wenger must realise that he is a football manager not a business manager.

He has shown signs that he is changing his philosophy when it comes to the transfer market with the arrivals of Mesut Ozil, Mathieu Debuchy, Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck. The problem with Arsene Wenger is that he still refuses to buy a world class centre back, a holding midfielder and a centre forward. I do like both Olivier Giroud and Welbeck as players but they are just not world class for me. Manchester City and Chelsea currently have the two best strikers in the league in Diego Costa and Sergio Aguero and this is why they are miles ahead of every other Premier league team.

Chelsea showed no mercy in their pursuit of Costa. Atletico Madrid had a buy-out clause in Costa’s contract and Chelsea triggered it by meeting the valuation. The same cannot be said about Wenger, he is not ruthless enough. In the summer of 2013, Arsenal had the opportunity to sign Luis Suarez. Arsenal believed they had triggered Suarez’s release clause with a bid of 40 million and a pound. Liverpool denied that they was ever such a clause but from my experiences I believe that one of Suarez’s representatives would have spoken to Arsenal and told them about the clause.

Arsene could have been more aggressive in the situation or perhaps even bid another 5 million for the player. Liverpool may have seen that extra pound as an insult and would have been more determined to keep Suarez after such a stunt. If Arsene had just gone to his board and demanded that they get Suarez, then I believe the deal would have been done. Suarez himself admitted he wanted to go to Arsenal at the time and player power is extremely strong nowadays, especially for someone as talented as Suarez. Instead, Wenger decided to end his pursuit.

Suarez went on to win the PFA player of the year, scoring 31 goals in 33 games for Liverpool and helped them to finish second in the table. If Suarez was in the Arsenal side last season then there is no doubt in my mind that they would have won the League.

Arsenal so far this season have won 6 games out of a possible 15 in the league. Last Saturday they lost 3-2 away to Stoke a result that was no surprise to anyone and that includes Arsenal fans. When Wenger was appointed as manager a few eyebrows were raised but he revolutionised the club. He brought new ideas that had not been seen in football. 18 years have passed since Wenger was appointed and his ideas have become old and predictable.

Teams are learning how to perform against Arsenal and I just do not see Wenger changing his methods. So for me someone else needs to come in and do that for Arsenal. Many people have mention Jurgen Kloop as Wenger’s successor but for me the stand out candidate is Diego Simeone.


Graham Cummins, Exeter City FC & Pundit Arena


Featured image by Ronnie MacDonald via Flickr Creative Commons


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