The End of the Road for Arsene Wenger?

Barney Corkhill@@BarneyCorkhillSenior Writer INovember 1, 2008

In the entire history of Arsenal FC, the team who have been in the top flight for the best part of a century, perhaps only the great Herbert Chapman can claim to have had such an impact on the club as Arsene Wenger.

In his time he has seen the likes of Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, and Patrick Vieira come and go, during which time he has developed them into global superstars.

But, after one of the worst weeks in his managerial career, some Arsenal fans have been calling for his head.

With losses against the likes of Hull, Fulham, and Stoke, and what felt like a loss to Tottenham, the murmurs of discontent have been growing towards a crescendo in recent weeks.

His suspect transfer policies have been the cause of much debate and concern among the fans of the club, and that has only added fuel to the fire.

But is this all just an over-reaction to a bad spell of form?

In my view, undeniably so.

For one, Wenger has used the same transfer policy throughout his career at Arsenal, and it has seen him produce teams that will go down in history, such as the "Invincibles".

He is second only to Sir Alex Ferguson as the greatest manager the Premier League has ever seen, and some may argue he is even better than the Scot.

After all, he has kept up a consistent challenge for 10 years or so on a much smaller budget, as well as many other factors in which he is worse off than Fergie.

Does this make him unsackable? No, of course not, no-one should be unsackable, otherwise they become bigger than the club.

But people need to realise that Wenger is crafting a whole new side. You can't expect instant success when you have a group of young talent. Why not buy more experienced players? Because that would prevent the growth of at least one promising youngster.

For Arsene Wenger to make the top four with this current squad would be a good season this year. The quality of the squad is nowhere near that of Chelsea, Manchester United and even Liverpool. Not at the moment, at least.

Only three, perhaps four of their players would get into the Man Utd squad: Cesc Fabregas, Emmanuel Adebayor, Robin van Persie, and William Gallas. Of them, Fabregas is probably the only one who could hold down a regular starting place.

But in a few years time, that Arsenal side will run away with the Premier League, mark my words. Players like Diaby and Denilson are growing every week, and Wenger is letting them develop. He created the Henry that became one of the best players in English football history, and he can do the same, given time.

It seems strange that I'm saying that he needs time, having been in the job for over a decade, but this squad is like starting from scratch. No-one will be able to develop those youngsters the way Wenger would.

And we have already seen what damage they can do when on form, and when they gain more experience, consistency will follow, and we will see those performances week in, week out.

But, of course, now things aren't going so well, fans will jump on his back. The fans calling for his head are very hypocritical in my view. They say, as most do, that money shouldn't ruin a youngster's chances to get experience, and that the beautiful game should be played beautifully.

Wenger does both those points, and gets abused for it when it doesn't go right.

I just hope the players, the fans, and the chairman of Arsenal can see the bigger picture. See what a force you will be in the next few years, and see what a great job Wenger is doing with what is, quite frankly, at the moment a rather mediocre squad.

Don't sack Wenger, you'll regret it.