Arsene Wenger seems to be the Premier League scapegoat, this summer – and for the 10 summers before that. If it isn’t fans trolling him on Arsenal TV, or that idiot Paul Merson on Sky, it is the Frenchman’s old-guard.
Both Emmanuel Petit and ex-captain, Patrick Vieira, have now taken a dig at the Gunners boss, with regard to ex-players not being offered coaching roles within the club.
Vieira said of the current Arsenal side that:
“Now when I watch Arsenal, yes they play good football, but I just have a feeling they are missing something – the physical presence, the personality.”
That definitely feels like a fair assessment of the situation at the Emirates Stadium, with there clearly a void of physicality, both on the field and in the dressing room. The ex-Gunner was brilliant in the holding-role, notorious for his spats with Roy Keane, and generally leading the North London club to success, and the truth is, Arsenal have struggled to ever replace him.
The former centre-midfielder went further in his criticism of Wenger and Arsenal:
“You see all the old players working for the club [Ajax], on the field, in the office – the door is always open for them – but Arsenal don’t do it and I don’t know why”
And Vieira’s former international and club team-mate, Petit, went into more detail on Vieira’s gripes.
“I spoke with Patrick for two hours and I can say – and maybe he will not be happy that I am saying this in public – he is really disgusted by Arsenal and Arsene’s attitude.”
But appointing old players in important positions is not always the correct option. Just look at Dennis Bergkamp, the assistant manager of Ajax, and yet the Dutch giants have failed to qualify for back-to-back Champions League group stages – as well as being beaten by PSV to the last couple of Eredivisie titles.
Man United is another one. Phil Neville sat alongside David Moyes as assistant, and Ryan Giggs under Louis van Gaal, and you can probably count on a fingerless hand at how many times they actually had an impact!
Having these old foes hanging around historic clubs such as Man United and Ajax is like an overbearing shadow stalling progression. To move on, in the way Jose Mourinho has from the Sir Alex and the Class of ’92, the former FC Porto gaffer has rid the backroom of staff previously associated with the club that his predecessors did not do.
Similarly, if Wenger continually kept such figures staying around Highbury/the Emirates, it would have been holding on to something they needed to move past – ‘the Invincibles’.
Vieira’s comments stink of someone who is bitter, because the truth is, Le Professeur has welcomed several ex-Arsenal pros onto his staff.
2) Freddie Ljungberg is on the youth coaching staff and international ambassador.
3) Legendary striker, Henry, another one who was on the coaching staff . Ok, he’s lost his role, but that’s because the Frenchman decided to choose Sky over the Gunners.
4) You’ve also got, Tony Adams, the bruising centre-back was asked to be in the youth development set-up, but opted to manage in China.
The truth is, if you’re good enough, you’ll get the job. Mikel Arteta was offered a role, but opted for Manchester City. Vieira is, in Wenger’s mind, just simply not good enough to be offered a place in the Arsenal set-up. The one-time box-to-box marauder is now a manager in Major League Soccer with New York City…whoop-de-bloody-du?
If anything, Vieira should be thinking that his ex-gaffer is probably ‘disgusted’ by his ‘attitude’. The ex-captain continually tried to engineer a move away from the club, time-and-time again. How’s that for an attitude that questions loyalty?!