Arsene Wenger announced he would leave Arsenal in the following summer after 22 years and Football World analyses his significant contribution to the club’s history.
Under the instructions of Wenger, Arsenal won three Premier League titles (two doubles in 1997-98 and 2001-02 and one unbeaten title in 2003-04), seven FA Cups, seven Community Shields and one Champions League final in 2006 against Barcelona (read here). But this is not the main point of Wenger’s career with the Gunners. But trophies are not the major achievement of Wenger’s career with the Gunners. He did something unique and challenging. He changed the mentality of Arsenal’s DNA entirely. Wenger signed with Arsenal in 1996, and since then the club has been transformed from a boring and typical English football club to a spectacular football machine. Every tactic, transfer and financial investment of Wenger’s strategy has one characteristic: The beauty of football. He used a modern style of football including passing game, mesmerising dribbling skills and fast counter attacks which were against the strength and the defending model of British football.
Source: Sports illustrated
Additionally, before his arrival, Arsenal had one well-known foreign footballer, Dennis Bergkamp, a cramped stadium called Highbury, and an old-fashioned training ground centre.
Thus, the French coach changed not only the club’s philosophy but also the entire management and infrastructures of the club. He brought skilful French footballers including Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira, Sylvain Wiltord and Emmanuel Petit who created the team that changed the Arsenal’s DNA.
He also insisted on the establishment of the Emirates Stadium in 2006 due to the potential financial profitability that the new Arsenal’s home will bring to the club. Arsenal moved from Highbury to an up-to-date and contemporary stadium which attracted more and well-known players to play for Arsenal.
But his priority was Arsenal’s academies and how to develop new talents. He integrated various football players into the first team which shows his romantic view of football. However, in today’s rapid growth of business football where the wages have been immensely increased, it was tough for Wenger to keep all these superstars in Arsenal. Even if he was losing many great players including Van Persie, Nasri, Fabregas or Adebayor, he never changed his philosophy, and this is why Wenger is so unique. His impact on British football was significant, and Pep Guardiola claimed that Wenger changed the total image of Premier League. He modernised British football, and Premier League became a more attractive destination for many players in Europe.
“All my respect for what he has done. The Premier League is about huge personalities like Arsene.”
Nowadays, most of the British football clubs such as Chelsea, Manchester City or Manchester United invest a lot of money on superstars. Only Jurgen Klopp can be considered as a new Arsene Wenger due to his philosophy to use young players, but it needs time to put him in the same category as Wenger or Ferguson. Indeed, Wenger is one of the most successful managers in Premier League history, and his name will always be memorable in British football books.