Arsenal FC: What Should Wenger's Priorities Be in the Summer?

Joe HeywoodContributor IIIApril 22, 2011

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 20:  Manager Arsene Wenger of Arsenal gestures uring the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at White Hart Lane on April 20, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Arsenal fans have been through a lot this season. From the euphoria of coming from behind to beat the "best team in the world" 2-1, to the despair of plummeting out of three competitions in as many weeks. The performances of the team have peaked and troughed too. One week they outclass Chelsea to a 3-1 victory, another they come undone by relegation-threatened West Bromwhich Albion 2-3.     

In recent weeks they have played nowhere near well enough to be Premier League champions. They are on 16 league games unbeaten, however, eight of those games have been frustrating draws which have severely damaged their title aspirations.

Many journalists and critics have suggested they lack the winning mentality the likes of Manchester United possess, with many members of their squad not justifying their roles in the team. In some respects it's hard to disagree.

The 1-1 draw with Liverpool would have filled fans with rage at their team not fulfilling the so-called mental strength that all the players say they have. Every week for the past five games at least one member of the squad has said that the team can get three points in the next game, to put their title challenge on track. Never has the cliched phrase, "actions speak louder than words" ever been so fitting.        

But those who say their title bid is over are completely wrong. Arsenal are six points behind Manchester United, with 15 points still up for grabs, and United still need to play the Gunners as well as Chelsea. Their 0-0 draw with Newcastle will give Arsenal fans slight optimism.

So the Gunners still have a great chance this season. But what should they change for next season?

Firstly, keep the manager. Wenger has done a tremendous job with the club since 1996, and his work in the last few years behind the scenes has been phenomenal. Sacking him now will be pulling the plug on every good job he has done thus far. 

There has also been "concern" with his touchline behavior. It's clear he has put every ounce of energy in creating success at the Emirates and watching his team underperform is just as frustrating as it is for the fans. He has passion and everyone wants to see that in the game. With regards to referees, the injustice in some decisions is something Wenger detests, as does every single manager in football. 

Get rid of the dead weights in the squad. The three main players that should be shown the door are Eboue, Bendtner and Denilson. With the emergence of PFA Young Player of the Year Jack Wilshere, Denilson has seen much of the bench this season, and in some weeks he hasn't even made the squad. With Wilshere, Diaby, Fabregas, Ramsey and Song it is clear exactly what to expect from them. They each have standout qualities essential to the team but with Denilson, he offers no X-factor which makes him an instant first eleven.

As for Eboue, his blunder in the 101st minute of extra time at the Emirates against Liverpool will surely seal the deal for a move away from the Gunners. As long as Sagna is fit he will have the right back position all day long. Arsenal fans won't be able to see a regular starting position for Eboue in the foreseeable future.

Bendtner has had too many chances to prove himself now. He talks the talk but cannot walk the walk. Wenger must be at the end of his tether with the Dane by now. The funds from Bendtner's sale, added to his already large transfer kitty, should be large enough to purchase a big-name centre forward to partner van Persie. Arsenal need player of the ilk of Drogba or Rooney who can last a whole season and can score near 30 goals in the campaign.

As for their replacements, Arsenal need a tough, no-nonsense midfielder who intimidates opposition. Daniele de Rossi would suit that role perfectly. His warrior-like presence at least would stop the Gunners from surrendering big goal advantages in games. It is thought that he wants to leave AS Roma so he could be realistically attained. Eboue's replacement can be solved internally with the promising Kyle Bartley, who's currently on loan at Rangers.  

Overall, the Gunners are not far off winning silverware. Time and experience are the key for this squad of players, with an average age of 23. All that's needed is patience and perseverance.  


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