Arsenal FC: Is Arsene Wenger Being Restricted by the Board at The Emirates?

Saqib Ahmed DadabhoyCorrespondent IAugust 21, 2011

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The divide in opinion over Arsenal's longest serving and most successful manager Arsene Wenger has now reached its greatest impasse of the French tacticians reign at Arsenal.

It's turned into a battle between the "In Arsene we trust" brigade versus the "In Arsene we rust" one. Whatever side you may be on, there's no denying that this rift in approval over Wenger's tenure simply didn't exist as little as three years back.

Arsene Wenger may be many things; stubborn, arrogant, perhaps even oblivious to reality. But he isn't stupid, nor is he ignorant, and that's why I urge those of you who persist in jeering the team and bemoaning the manager's tactics to practise caution and restraint.

Perhaps my point would be best exemplified by citing an earlier era under Wenger's reign.

Those of you who have supported Arsenal longer than the time right after the Invincibles won't need reminding that, after enduring a third straight barren season (from 1998-2001), the same Arsene Arsene Wenger that is currently bemoaned and ridiculed in the media and by fans alike, uncharacteristically jumped into the transfer market, bringing in no fewer than four fresh faces.

 The players brought in at that point, arguably a few of the best in the club's entire history, were Sol Campbell, Freddie Ljungberg, Thierry Henry and Robert Pires.

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(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Readers don't need to be reminded of the aforementioned player's calibre - their record speaks for itself.

But the question I'm actually trying to get at is this: Do you actually think Arsene Wenger is stupid or ignorant enough not to invest in a team that has so many glaring deficiencies?

Proponents of the 'Arsene out' group continuously cite the fact that Wenger has aged, or that he isn't cut out for the Premier League anymore by saying that 'he's lost the plot' as evidence to suggest that the once philosophical and revolutionary French manager is simply past it and will not be jumping into the market to try and save our season.

And yet, the earlier mentioned example clearly highlights that when Wenger has needed to loosen his pockets and invest for the sake of the club, he hasn't held back.

He broke the bank for one of Euro 2008's standout players in Arshavin when a Top Four spot was on the line, brought in 'little Mozart' - Tomas Rosicky - upon Robert Pires' departure, and signed Samir Nasri, who was touted back in France as 'the next Zidane' to fill the void left by Alex Hleb.

There's no denying that Arsene Wenger has gradually started to look an increasingly frustrated figure on the sidelines. And there's also no denying that there's been a massive boardroom overhaul over the course of the last two seasons.

The two may or may not be linked, but the facts speak for themselves. Arsene has invested in the past when it was imperative to do so. To suggest that, over the course of the decade, our manager has become so oblivious to the point that he's willing to put his reputation on the line for a philosophy that he himself deemed a failure had it not bore fruit by now is simply ludicrous.

It would also be worth mentioning if Wenger had complete control of the club as is reported by a few, and he continued on this way, what exactly then would be the boards incentive for keeping him? (It's money in case you hadn't figured it out yet).

The board, who see Wenger as the perfect pawn for their plan, are aware of Wenger's limitless allegiance and love for Arsenal Football Club, and are hence taking advantage of that fact by getting him to bite the bullet by appearing stubborn or unwilling to invest. 

Essentially, the board appear and escape as the innocent backroom-party while they continue to profit off the clubs business (departures etc), while Wenger (knowingly) takes all the criticism from fans and pundits as he is unwilling (and rightly so) to walk out on the club.

Of course, the fact that he goes and spends nearly £12 million on an unproven 17-year old in Oxlade-Chamberlain doesn't help his plight, but when you consider the names being thrown around by fans and the wages they would demand, is it any wonder he's going in that direction. Buying 'kids' with little Premier League experience, despite having a huge transfer fee, would demand relatively less in wages.

Our fans are fickle; there's no doubting that. But to solely pin the blame of our inactivity on Wenger's reputation for 'stubbornness' is being extremely short-sighted.

No manager is bigger than the club, that's an uncontested reality. If Wenger is the guilty party in all this and the aforementioned speculation is at the end of the day just rumors, than he can rightly be criticized. He's taken the acclaim during the good times, so he must take the blame during the bad.

But what if rumors are to be believed and the board have effectively restricted him to the purported degree?

The current situation at Arsenal Football club reeks of propaganda and dirty-politics. Those that can't see it and continue to jeer the manager with chants begging him to 'spend some money' are doing so at the risk a managerial walkout by Arsene Wenger.

Agree or disagree? Leave your comments below, or tweet me if that's how you do @saqibddb


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