Arsene Wenger may have left the club in 2018, but his legacy lives on far beyond.
And current boss Mikel Arteta has recently spoke of his desire to bring back the man who transformed Arsenal from hopeful battlers to the cream of the crop.
At least in some capacity. It was left unclear how any potential dynamic would work between Arteta and Wenger should the latter come back to his spiritual home. Given that Arsene had absolute sway over everything at Colney after David Dein departed, could this link-up even work?
The positives are abundant and clear for everyone to see. Arteta, even if he is a coaching genius like Pep Guardiola insists he is, is still essentially learning on the job. Some things only become evident when you’re in the hotseat and we have all been privy to certain eyebrow-raising decisions in-game that may or may not have negatively affected the game.
There’s also the respect that Wenger would command. Players would certainly listen to all he has to offer – and being hired as head of footballing development at FIFA makes it clear that he still has lots to offer the game.
And what of the football? While Arteta has done a great job at solidifying what was a weak foundation in the side, our creativity has been lacking. Chances per game are down and finding the perfect blend of potent force up front and astute and aware backline is the ultimate task of any manager. And Wenger can certainly help with the creativity side of things as one thing all of his Arsenal elevens had in common was the ability to blow sides away with technical play.
One thing Wenger always took great pride in was when a starlet shone through. One that the club had taken their time polishing. From a rough stone there shone a great jewel. As Wenger famously once said “We don’t buy stars at Arsenal. We make them.”
And while that was true during the lean years, Wenger made his fair share of big money signings when the handcuffs came off. But bringing him on board and having the ability to work closely with the Head of the Academy, Per Mertesacker (a Wenger recruit), could reap some big dividends.
It is all hypothetical of course. We only have a few sentences from Arteta in a press conference to go on. But the mere fact he confirmed he would like Wenger back at the club is enough to look at the potential impact this would have – both good and bad.
Everything hinge on the capacity Wenger would work in. Simply being an advisor and offering his experiences to the coaching staff and youngsters, ad-hoc? There is nothing to lose and everything to gain. As a technical director? It’s an arrangement that has been the ruination of many managers at different clubs in the past, but the pay-off of a team comprising Arteta and Wenger could be the difference between our slow march back into contention and blasting our way back to the top.
What do you think? Would you welcome back the greatest manager Arsenal have ever had? If so – what role would you have him fulfil? Let me know!