Wenger: End of an Era or a New Beginning?

Is Mr. Wenger building a squad for his successor or as a squad to see him through his next contract?

Arsenal have spent over €100m this year, it is unprecedented; add to this the signings of Ozil, Sanchez and Gabriel and you can see that the squad is very different from that we had  just a few seasons ago.

Mr. Wenger has regularly built squads over his 20+ years, often assembled around a player (Fabregas) or a style of play (Invincibles). This one reminds me of the early days of Petit and Vieira.

It remains to be seen whether Xhaka and his fellow midfielders can have the influence of the PV/EP axis but I have a good feeling about it. Whether it will be Xhaka, Elneny and Ramsey or Xhaka, Coquelin and Cazorla or another combination, it is the midfield where the power of the new Arsenal will crystallise.

For many years the fans (AA’ers included) have begged for three signings – a CB, a DM and a striker with pace. We have them. The next question is whether the signings are good enough. As usual, they are not from the current top-drawer – no Pogba or Higuain for us – but Mr. Wenger has a history of signing good players and making them great.

There is much to discuss about the transfer window; why were Campbell , Wilshire and Chambers allowed to leave? It is clear that Arsene has made some tough decisions on players who have stalled in their progress. Perhaps the alarming improvement in Walcott’s attitude is due to a new fear factor within the club. If so, this is a necessary development as some players have not had enough competition for their places and become complacent.


Today we have a squad where no-one apart from Ozil, Bellerin, Sanchez and Koscielny is an automatic starter. This has to be of benefit to Arsenal over the coming years.


Then there is the age of the squad. We have a number of players approaching 30 and AW has managed to buy in youth (apart from Perez). In my opinion, we have some very exciting times ahead as Mr Wenger moulds what could be his final squad. Let us hope he has as much success as SAF’s last hurrah.

The Ghosts of the Thirties are Stirring

written by Big Raddy


107 Responses to Wenger: End of an Era or a New Beginning?

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    great post, Raddinksi. 🙂

    I love the squad and like you see it as very strong throughout the key areas. And yes the midfield is key and we have some tremendous options now, so all to play for.

    I reckon Wenger will stay otherwise he would not have been able to attract the likes of Xhaka and Mustafi that easily. Unless of course it is Wenger’s successor who picked them, which would not totally surprise me either.

    In football you just have to be in the here and now. Don’t look back till the summer months and don’t look forward either. Every season has its own dynamics and all that matters is this PL, FA and CL campaign. Can a first team of Cech, Bel, Koz, BFG/Mustafi, Nacho, Xhaka/Coq, Rambo/Santi, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud, Theo/Perez win the shiniest silverware? Absofeckinglutely! 🙂


    My tip for Wenger’s successor is the German fifth Beatles JL

  2. Rasp says:

    Thanks Raddy, great post and a tantalising question.

    I have a theory! I think that the ‘missing 3 players’ we bought are in part, to give Arsene the best chance of winning the EPL or even the CL in his last season as manager.

    But read on … because he loves the club he would like Eddie Howe to come in as he is a real talent and plays the kind of football Arsene loves – but he also knows he may not be able to attract top players. Solution: Arsene moves ‘upstairs’ in some capacity but his involvement extends to helping bring in players and giving continuity to his reign and the transition to a new manager.

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Rasp

    Although I like Howe a lot I cannot see the BoD going for such an inexperienced option, even if Arsene likes him too.

    I like your positivity btw 🙂

  4. Rasp says:

    Hi TA, that’s why I’m suggesting Arsene will remain with the club so he can still bring the things that EH currently lacks = his reputation and gravitas 🙂

  5. TotalArsenal says:

    It is a good thought Rasper but I am not sure whether this works in terms of on-field play and tactical adjustments which is also key. I can see Wenger working as a Technical Director though.

  6. Rasp says:

    Technical director was the sort of role I was envisaging.

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    What do you think of Joachim Low, Rasp?

  8. Big Raddy says:

    TA. Too old (almost 57).

    I would like a young manager. There are quite a few good chaps coming through.

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    Hey Raddy, I don’t get the age thing at all. If you are good enough you are old enough goes both ways.. 🙂

    Experience of winning and life experience in general is very important for a manager and only very few young managers have what it take to succeed at the highest level.

    Who would you be thinking of?

  10. GunnerN5 says:


    I cannot see AW buying a squad for the express purpose of boosting his own reputation and legacy – that was how Fergy thought at Man U – and what did he leave behind? I prefer to think that he is doing what he feels is appropriate for the club.

  11. chas says:

    Excellent, BR.

    It would be so interesting to find out what was said to Xhaka, Mustafi and Perez re: Wenger staying more than one season.

    All I can say is is that I’m glad all of those protests finally got him to dip his hand in Stan’s pocket. 🙂

  12. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Raddy. Very thought provoking post.

    For my tuppence worth it does look at face value like Arsene has assembled a very strong squad now. He bought in the positions that were needed and, as you say, now it remains to be seen whether they are of the required quality.

    There is one further question about whether Arsene still has the ability as a manager at the highest level to get the best from the high quality squad he has assembled. Getting all the components for a Ferrari is one thing but to mould it together to make it drive like a Ferrari is another.

    This will only be answered as the season progresses but I don’t feel it is unfair to expect this squad to make the quantum leap into the 80+ points bracket that has eluded us for many years now, in other words, title challenging arena.

    Ultimately it will be the answer to that question that should by rights determine the answer to your question Raddy. If the Ferrari components don’t become a very good Ferrari then we will need a different mechanic.

    By the way, did I mention my absolute disdain for the unnecessary use of tacky cliches and analogies ? 🙂

  13. GoonerB says:

    Not sure about Low at this stage. I would prefer to see a manager that has a certain proven / track record in a competitive league. Managing a team across a whole season is very different to international management.

    Howe is interesting but as others have pointed out I would worry at this stage about his international recognition among the elite players.

    Personally I would still look towards Koeman even with him having just moved to Everton. A good age with a great deal of experience across different countries, including working with and under many other top managers. He has had ups and downs so will have learned from all of this both good and bad and is still around which indicates a strength and resilience to bounce back from difficulties. I have also been impressed in the EPL over the last couple of years how his sides have often undone their more elaborate counterparts, us not withstanding.

  14. GunnerN5 says:

    My hope is that the question of naming a new manager is a tad premature as I believe that AW will sign another 3/4 year contract.

    After all he is as fit as a fiddle and still has the desire and ability to succeed at the highest level.

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    Fair point re Low, GB. Lack of club level experience is a negative.

    I still reckon he fits the bill perfectly for the BoD and his knowledge and pull on German players will be very important too. He also has style and turned the Germans in a modern football playing team. And I can tell you that has been quite an achievement for the Germans.

    Koeman is not a bad shout. Not my cup of tea for Arsenal but sooner or later a big team will take a punt on him.

    Re assembling a Ferrari…. The car was already there but Wenger just added a few spare parts and a booster rocket to make it even more exciting. 😉

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    I think you are right there, GN5.

  17. GoonerB says:

    I wouldn’t be against Low TA, just a slight question mark, but then there is probably a question mark with most managers outside of the likes of Guardiola or Ancelotti.

    GN5, the fitness and desire and commitment to Arsenal no question. His ability in the past, no question. His ability in this modern era, (with regard to winning the EPL or ECL), still to be proven.

  18. Big Raddy says:

    TA. You make a fair point. An old violin can play sweet music (another cliche 😀 )

  19. mickydidit89 says:

    Thanks, urrr, ummm, it says BR but has The Transplant signature.

    Have I spotted something no other has noticed?

    Anyhow, thank you Author.

    I don’t think the summer signings are related in any way to Arsene’s future. I reckon that will be decided by the club come the end of each managerial contract, and even then, I think outside factors can always void or change a contract at any time.

    AW could be in his last term, or not. Dunno.

  20. GunnerN5 says:


    I cannot find a way to question his ability after all against all odds (lack of cash, injuries etc) he has kept us in the desired top 4 and has won 2 FA Cups. He is deserving a lot more credit for his achievements and far less criticism.

    Lets see – he has kept us in the top four, against the odds, for the past 12 seasons. Now getting into the top four means the team gets, say 20m per season so that equals approximately 240m.

    Just where do folks think we would be today without that unrecognized revenue that gets tossed away by his critics as not being a trophy ?

  21. fred1266 says:

    Hearing flam signed for palace is it true

  22. LB says:

    That is definitely a fine post BR.

    I used to get very defensive when I read comments suggesting AW was going to or should leave, a bit like the wasps nest being poked and I, one of the soldier wasps, was sent out to protect it.

    Now I just chuckle, the idea that the board aren’t going to beg him to stay and for him not to accept is bordering on laughable to me. There is no doubt in my mind what so ever that he will sign a new contract.

    I am so excited about this season, more so than many before. Can we win the league? Damn right. Will we? I don’t give a damn, I just can’t wait to see that squad try.

  23. LB says:

    Apparently so Fred. I can’t think of another player who has used so little talent so well.

  24. Big Raddy says:

    LB. You sum up my thoughts precisely.

    Thankfully, I am not from the generation who think that coming second is losing.

    Fred. Yes, Flam is a CP player and Lord Nik has lucked a 2 year contract at Nottingham Forest with a 50% wage reduction.

  25. Big Raddy says:

    I wonder if Flamini really will become a billionaire thanks to his investments.

  26. chas says:

  27. mickydidit89 says:

    LB says: “There is no doubt in my mind what so ever that he will sign a new contract”

    Bloody hope Arsene’s not reading. He’ll be worried. Very 🙂

  28. chas says:

  29. chas says:

  30. VP of Oz says:

    Dear Spock, eyebrows again?
    Eyebrows were raised earlier today when Alexis Sanchez claimed he is just as good as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

  31. LB says:

    Thanks for the clips. I am trying to think of an Iwobi expression……….


  32. TotalArsenal says:

    What an eye-smilers Santi and Nacho are. Great guys.

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    LB, love that last paragraph at 5.42.

  34. JM says:

    Sportsmail columnist Martin Keown:


    Question related to Arsenal:

    Q (Beth, north London): Do you think we’ll see Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez for Arsenal this weekend?

    A (M.Keown): Wenger likes to give his new signings time to prepare and bed in, so it’ll be interesting to see who plays on Saturday. A home game against Southampton seems like quite a good time for Mustafi to make his debut, though Rob Holding has done so well after a shaky start and it would be harsh to drop him. Mustafi will be used to European football so Wenger may be tempted to give him his debut in the Champions League, but Arsenal’s first game is away at PSG so this would be quite the baptism of fire!

    I’m very intrigued to see how the signing of Perez affects Wenger’s tactics up front. One thing I’ve noticed recently, having seen him on the touchlines, is that he likes his strikers to make runs beyond opposition defenders. He is very loyal to Olivier Giroud, but also recognises that if you have lots of passers of the ball in your side you need to give them time and options by stretching the play.

    Imagine how many assists Mesut Ozil would have if he had the likes of Marc Overmars and Nicolas Anelka to aim for. Perez seems like a Jamie Vardy-style player, so his ability to run in behind defences could be exactly what Wenger is looking for.

  35. chas says:

  36. chas says:

  37. mickydidit89 says:

    New York Dolls?
    Is it a band?

    Morning Chas, then All.

  38. chas says:

    It is a band but not New York dolls

  39. mickydidit89 says:


  40. mickydidit89 says:


  41. chas says:

    Ramones – hahahahahahaha

  42. chas says:

    Micky in his partying days.

  43. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    7.12 That chap has a powerful set of pipes!

    Love the English learning vid.

  44. chas says:

    Must dash
    Morning BR.

  45. Big Raddy says:

    Bill Wyman does look like Joey

  46. Eddie says:

    phew, just managed to log in. I had no internet for almost a week, bloody BT had some severed cables. As a result I have soooo much to tell you 🙂 🙂

    thanks for the post Raddy, nice summary of the situation. On paper we look good, have the players we demanded (begged according to you), some depth squad, some ‘dead wood’ shifted, happy dayz. But I refuse to go all gooey over Perez or Mustafi, let me see them in action tomorrow. We will convincingly on Saturday, I might change my mind about us finishing 4th. We might end up 3rd after all

  47. Eddie says:

    my internet is still very wanky, so I have to tell you about cider vinegar – it is dead easy to make at home, just chop apples and wait!

  48. mickydidit89 says:

    “I have soooo much to tell you”

    One vinegar recipe. That’s it?!?!?!

    And yes, we had a viola lesson yesterday 🙂

  49. GoonerB says:

    Eddie, I see a cookery programme in the pipeline “At home with Eddie”…..Each episode 43 seconds 🙂

    Eddie your 8.39 portrays the voice of reason for me. It is how I see it. I am far from unhappy with our TW, but to be very happy I have to see it in effective working action, and I too will not go all gooey until this happens. I also have some reservations regarding how Arsene balances the side. I kept thinking last season that it seemed the more good options he had the less clear he was about his best 1st 11.

  50. mickydidit89 says:

    In some ways, the departures of Joel and Jack will resolve some of the shoehorning-in problems. No? 🙂

  51. mickydidit89 says:


    Any other raw food, meatless, alkaline diet health freaks fancy a kebab opposite the Kings Boozer before some refreshingly healthy beer?

  52. Eddie says:

    micky – I have sooooo much to tell you, but the internet is still not working properly, so I won’t risk losing great stories in the ether

  53. GoonerB says:

    Possibly Micky, but Ramsey and Ollie ???

  54. Rasp says:

    Morning Micky – are you coming to the game defo now?

  55. Eddie says:

    I’d love a tasteless kebab, who wouldn’t 🙂

  56. mickydidit89 says:


    TASTELESS kebab. At the Yildiz Ocakbasi Restaurant for gourmands!!!

  57. mickydidit89 says:

    Yes Rasp. Ticket in the nest.

  58. Rasp says:

    OK Micky, peaches will be in touch to arrange a pre-match kebabfest and a wander across the road to commune with the Vines maybe 🙂

  59. mickydidit89 says:

    By the time we get to the Kings Boozer, it could be hand signals only

  60. LB says:

    I haven’t seen the Wenger per match but from what I can gather he was asked if Wilshere had played his last game for Arsenal to which he replied: no he is definitely in my long term plans.

    So I ask you: are any of you still in any doubt that AW will sign a new contract?

    Welcome to my world……..

  61. Rasp says:

    That doesn’t necessarily mean he will remain as manager LB?

  62. chas says:

    Me walking to the ground after 2 pints in the Kings Head.

  63. chas says:

    Getting a road beer.

  64. chas says:

    Hey, BR.
    When you said earlier that Bill Wyman looked like Joey Ramone, I didn’t believe you but there is a distinct likeness.

    Weird how Joey’s real name is Hyman as well. 🙂

  65. chas says:

    He said he hopes Jack spends his whole career at Arsenal.

    Feck all about ‘his long term plans’ but nice try. 😆

  66. chas says:

    The main Jack bit is at 9m 54seconds

  67. TotalArsenal says:

    No wonder Brexit won 😉

  68. LB says:

    That will learn me to write a comment based on what I had heard on the radio before actually watching the interview myself.

  69. GunnerN5 says:


    But your assertion was still correct – he will sign a new contract – I hope……………

  70. chas says:

    Haha, hope you didn’t take offence.

  71. chas says:

    I can’t believe Venga missed out on this lad.

  72. Big Raddy says:

    Dear Chaps and Chapesses,

    I am really sorry but I have no time to write a PM for tomorrow’s game. Blame the Saudi’s who have booked me for a week’s guiding and Mrs. Raddy who needs “quality time” for the few hours I am free.

    Anyone else care to write something?

  73. GunnerN5 says:

    I feel that AW will save Sanchez for the Tuesday game at PSG and he will play Perez against Southampton and also give Mustafi a place on the bench.

  74. LB says:

    I’m not that touchy.

  75. Ant says:

    Bill Wyman and Joey Ramone also look like Mick Jones, when he had hair

  76. GunnerN5 says:

    It’s hard to try to fill your shoes Raddy but I will give it a whirl – if there are no other candidates.

  77. Big Raddy says:

    Ant. They do a great one meaning ” you are clever but too devious”. It is a single finger below the right eye and a drag down

    And the famous “cornuto” which Ozzie took to signal the sign of the devil. A cornuto means “I have carnal knowledge of your wife” 🙂

  78. LB says:

    Well done GN5

    I look forward to reading it.

  79. Big Raddy says:

    GN5. Thank you. I am sure it will be an improvement on the normal drivel

  80. mickydidit89 says:

    GN5: “It’s hard to try to fill your shoes Raddy”

    Errrr….you mean sandals surely

  81. mickydidit89 says:

    To save me looking it up, who are we playing tomorrow?

  82. mickydidit89 says:

    Southampton. Just remembered. Dear God, one of the games I saw last season. Does that Wagamama bloke still play for them?

  83. chas says:

    Nah, too busy cooking noodles.

  84. Big Raddy says:

    Wagamama has signed for the knuckle-draggers. Sure to give our boys a good kicking when we play them.

  85. TotalArsenal says:

    A match preview all the way from Ontario!! Looking fwd to it GN5. 🙂

    Enjoy your break Raddy.

  86. Big Raddy says:

    TA. Thanks. It is not a break I would choose to take. Hard work is not something I am designed for. Never liked it.

  87. GunnerN5 says:

    Peaches, Rasp I’ve emailed a pre- match to you.

  88. GunnerN5 says:

    Raddy, I’ve stolen your type of format – it simply cannot be an improvement on your superb pre match’s.

  89. TotalArsenal says:

    Ah Raddy I see. 😀

  90. Eddie says:

    GN5 – bravo!! My jaw dropped when I have read Raddy’s confession. Thanks for saving the day, I don’t think I could stomach a vegetarian kebab without some meaty PM 🙂

  91. chas says:

    Hey. it’s Lucas Perez’ birthday today!

  92. chas says:

    Hey, it’s Laurent Koscielny’s birthday today!

  93. Eddie says:

    last night I went to bed praying to God that something is discovered to cure my eyes. This morning I read this:


  94. LB says:

    My wow it’s a football day (and I am jumping up and down like a school boy) really gets put in perspective after reading that article

  95. Ant says:

    Chas has already had 3 pints..

  96. chas says:

    Is your phone broken?

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