AC Milan vs. Arsenal: Where Does Arsene Wenger Go from Here?

Bimersha GautamCorrespondent IIIFebruary 15, 2012

MILAN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 15:  Arsene Wenger, manager of Arsenal looks on during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between AC Milan and Arsenal at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on February 15, 2012 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Arsenal received an absolute mauling at the hands of AC Milan in the first leg at the San Siro. 

Kevin-Prince Boateng, who tonight could have been akin to Lionel Messi, put in a splendid performance for the Rossonerri. 

Boateng opened the scoring at 15 minutes, and two more goals from Robinho and a further penalty by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, meant that Arsenal were handed their biggest European defeat. 

The performance put out by the Milan side was simply marvelous; the defensive solidity was there, and it was coupled with sublime counter-attacking football. 

In form, Robin van Persie was completely neutralized, and the midfield looked lackluster for extended periods of time.

Now the begging question is: where does Arsene Wenger go from here?

Gooners have been acrimonious with Wenger all season long, and this might be the last straw. 

I have always been supportive of Arsene, and I will stick by him. 

What I will vouch for though is that the board either needs to change or be changed. 

Ever since the resignation of David Dein, the board have been in stark contrast to Wenger. 

While Wenger has stated time and again that not qualifying for the Champions League is a failure, Peter Hill-Wood, on the other hand, epitomizes the board's ambition by stating:

From a financial point of view, not qualifying for the Champions League is quite a blow... We have been planning for not qualifying every year, so it is not a disaster, but it would be nice if we could. 

The primary concern of the Arsenal board is generating money. 

Many fans complain that Arsene simply does not buy quality players and is stuck now. However, it is the Arsenal board that restricts him more than anything else. 

The clash of opinions is this: The board believes that offering a £90K or £100K is more than enough. Wenger, on the other hand, believes that when other clubs, namely City and Chelsea, are offering so much more in wages, wants to raise the pay scale to £150K. 

A major issue is that the Arsenal board is willing to spend money on transfers, but not on the wages.

The board are willing to pay large transfer fees, but will not make the demands for wages that a typical marquee signing would warrant. 

Take the case of Juan Mata, for example. 

Remember that only this past summer, Arsenal were in hot pursuit of Mata. He was linked heavily with Arsenal, only to snub them when Chelsea made a £23.5 million offer and gave him the prospect of a much higher salary than Arsenal could afford.

It was primarily wages that kept the Spanish maestro from joining the Gunners.  

So the Gooners calling for Arsene Wenger's head should realize the fact that Arsenal's miserable run has nothing to do with Wenger. It boils down to the board. 

When Dein, the vice-chairman of Arsenal between 1983 and 2007, was an ever-present figure at Arsenal, they spent on acquiring world-class players. 

Dein took an active interest in the transfer market, player negotiations and was also behind the appointment of Wenger, who was relatively unknown at that time. 

Dein backed Arsene’s wishes in the transfer market and placed a great amount of trust in Wenger.

Before, in Dein’s era, Arsenal made a lot of marquee signings.

Dein was instrumental in signing Ian Wright from Crystal Palace for £2.5 million.

And for the first time, Arsenal laid claim to a truly international superstar when Dein flew to Milan and personally obtained the signature of one Dennis Bergkamp for £7.5 from Inter Milan.

And over the years, Dein was highly involved in signing players like Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit, Marc Overmars, Thierry Henry, Davor Suker, Robert Pires, Sol Campbell, Gilberto, Gael Clichy, Kolo Toure, Cesc Fabregas and Robin Van Persie

When David Dein left Arsenal in 18 April 2007, citing "irreconcilable differences" between himself and the rest of the board, Arsenal started collapsing. 

Thierry Henry claimed that Dein's departure as vice-chairman had dismayed him and left him in no doubt that it was time to move on. 

Wenger described Dein’s departure “as a sad day for the club." Following his departure, Wenger was believed to have asked Dein whether he wished him to resign from the post of manager in support for his friend.

Dein told Wenger that he should not leave Arsenal, as the club would suffer greatly from his loss as manager if he decided to leave.

Wenger stated:

It is a huge disappointment because we worked very closely together, David has contributed highly to the success of the club in the last 10 years and even before that as well. Red and white are the colours of his heart.

Fickle fans should, thus, realize this: Wenger is a great manager, a master tactician and phenomenal visionary. 

If he quit, there would be plenty of clubs vying for his signature, even Real Madrid

Remember that this is the same man who turned down Real Madrid in 2009 to stick with Arsenal when he was presented such a lucrative offer. 

And now to witness "fans" calling for his head, when he has been behind the club despite being restricted by the board, on an unprecedented basis, is downright disgraceful. 

Wenger should not go anywhere. The irresponsible board and the glory hunting fans should. 


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