Arsenal have it all to do right now. They’re seven points adrift of the top four, their fans are in turmoil, their manager is expected to leave, and their star player will likely follow him.
In truth, the list of changes that need to be made at the Emirates is endless.
It’s something which we’ve talked about all morning at Ladbrokes News HQ – what three things should Arsenal make their priority between now and the start of next season?
Here’s the word from the office…
Once a respected part of the establishment, Arsenal Football Club is in danger of unravelling at the seams. And it all stems from the very top.
Major shareholders Alisher Usmanov and Stan Kroenke are indulging in open warfare and the owners’ respective lack of action and in-fighting is affecting everything everything else around them.
Kroenke needs to get his head out of the sand and bite the bullet with Wenger, or at the very least open the path to a successor. Meanwhile, a,new Head of Recruitment, or a different recruitment strategy should be pursued and the deadwood and unsettled stars discarded of. Then the healing can process can begin and Arsenal can move on.
You’ve got to admire and respect Wenger, but the game has passed him by and the time has come. Having said that, he isn’t the only problem, and Arsenal’s scouting and transfer policy needs a major overhaul.
Make changes to both of those aspects, and eventually they’ll have a chance. But before those scouting changes come into effect, this is a big summer with some quality signings up for grabs. Joe Hart being one, Daniel Sturridge being another, while Arsenal have been crying out for a fox-in-the-box like Javier Hernandez for about 10 years now.
Signings like that will help whoever it is who succeeds Wenger, but they must be hired with a long-term plan in mind. They can’t outspend Chelsea, Manchester City or Manchester United, while those three plus Liverpool and Tottenham are all at least one year ahead in their timescales for success. Arsenal’s stagnation in recent years will not be solved in the next 18 or 24 months, but they can make a start.
I’m not the first, or the thousandth, or probably even the millionth person to say this. But Arsene Wenger needs to go. He’s failed to install a winning mentality in a group of players who should be achieving far more than they are right now, and tactically, he’s looked clueless in terms of turning results around this season.
The substitutions he’s made in defeats against the likes of Crystal Palace, West Bromwich Albion and Bayern Munich have been at best ineffective, and at worst catastrophic. Only once a new man comes in will we see the possibility of an end to fan unrest, under-performing players and the Gunners losing games without a fight. Even as an outsider, it’s painful to see what Wenger’s done to Arsenal. He needs to go this summer, if the club are to have any chance of healing next term.
I just can’t see Wenger turning things around. It’s sad to say, but I think too much has happened, and the fans calling for his head are no longer a minority. The board have to act in the summer and make a change. The best thing for the team in terms of moving forward would be finishing sixth and Wenger walking. That means his successor should have plenty of leeway for at least a couple of years while the team tried to find its feet again.
As for Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, I don’t care whether they stay or they go. All I want to know is what they’re doing. This has been ongoing for months and it’s clearly having an effect on performances. Think about some of the other top clubs in the Premier League. As soon as a key player is rumoured with a move away, they’re tied down to a new contract. Only at Arsenal do things go on and on. It’s becoming a drama, but I’m no longer bothered about the final scene.
We’re had our say, but what do you think needs to be done at the Emirates between now and the start of next season? Let us know in the comments section below!
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing