Arsenal Transfer News: Arsene Wenger's Toughness Sets Tone for 2011-12 Campaign

Tom Kinslow@@TomKinslowFeatured ColumnistJuly 17, 2011

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 15:  Arsene Wenger manager of Arsenal issues instructions to his players during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium on May 15, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

A team's identity starts at the top, and based on Arsene Wenger's recent statements, Arsenal is done being pushed around.

All offseason long the Gunners have been subjected to rumors centering around the possible departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, and Wenger has had enough, blasting Barcelona's Dani Alves and Manchester City's Roberto Mancini for their comments about his players.

In his latest comments directed at the City boss, Wenger demanded respect.

Per The Sun:

Speaking after his side's 1-1 friendly draw with Hangzhou, he raged: "I think the comments are not allowed, they are against the rules of football and he should be informed."

"I don't know what should be done. I don't spend my time worrying about what other people say, because we are focused on our game."

"What we want is respect and we don't make these comments about players who are under contract at other clubs."

"Was he disrespectful? I cannot say otherwise. This comment is absolutely out of order, but I don't give it any more importance than that."

It was a bold move for Wenger to say what he did, and it gives the club backbone heading into the 2011-12 season.

Last year, the Gunners had talent, but they lacked poise and toughness on the biggest stages against the world's top clubs.

Arsenal went from competing on multiple fronts to being bounced from the Champions League, FA Cup, and Carling Cup while stumbling to a fourth-place finish in the Premier League.

Now, with Wenger fighting battles on two fronts after a tiresome season, it's time for the club to rally around the fiesty Frenchman and fight for him as he has done for them over the summer.

What happened at the end of last year was disgraceful, and every Arsenal player needs to erase the memory of the pitiful collapse that marked the final blow in a season full of crushing defeats.

At some point, it's time for the players to fight, not just for their own careers, but for their pride.

In the wake of another trophy-less campaign, it is clear that no one respects Arsenal.

If any one club has made this obvious, it's Barcelona.

The club has refused to bid anywhere close to Wenger's asking price for his captain, and Dani Alves has implied that Arsenal is a tourist-class club that cannot compare to business-class Barcelona.

That is a direct shot at the ability of every man who puts on an Arsenal uniform, and if those comments aren't enough to give them a backbone, nothing is.

Wenger is the embodiment of Arsenal and is standing up for himself and the rest of his players on the world stage.

The Frenchman has set the tone for the season, and now it's time for the players to respond in kind.

Arsenal is one of the most prestigious clubs in the world, and now it's time for the players to get their pride back.