When Arsene Wenger came to the Premier League in 1996 English domestic football was in good health, but Wenger helped to take the standard in the Premiership up another level and transformed the league. What Wenger has achieved at Arsenal is nothing short of remarkable, as he turned the Gunners into a great team that played nothing short of exceptional football. Does Wenger deserve the mantle or being the best Premiership manager of all-time, or is that title surrendered to Sir Alex Ferguson? Either way, Wenger has helped to revolutionise the English game.
Arsene Wenger was born in Strasbourg, France in 1949 and the 60 year old had an unremarkable playing career in French football as a defender. However, the same cannot be said about his time as a manager to date, starting from when he took his first job as Nancy head coach in 1984. Relegation in his 3rd season would have hurt Wenger, but he put that behind him and began his success story at Monaco. He made his mark by signing Glenn Hoddle, George Weah, Jürgen Klinsmann and Youri Djorkaeff, before surprisingly moving to Japan. But he was soon to move to Highbury, as Gerard Houllier recommended the Frenchman to David Dein and the rest is history. 13 years later Wenger has cemented Arsenal’s place as a major force in England, and won 3 Premier League titles and 4 FA Cups to bring the glory times back for the Gunners.
Wenger has established himself as one of, if not the most adept manager in the Premiership at finding and nurturing young talent, especially from abroad. The list of players he signed from France in particular for small fees that have gone on to become world superstars is endless. From Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira, to Robert Pires and Nicolas Anelka, Wenger has uncovered some real gems in his time at Arsenal and there is no sign that will come to an end. Not only has the Frenchman put together some fearsome teams at Arsenal, but he is also a chairman’s best friend as he generally spends little and makes the most out of small budgets. Like everyone, Wenger was prone to the odd mistake every now and again, Francis Jeffers anyone? But his record in the transfer market is unrivalled.
Revolution in the Premiership:
Arsene Wenger is a trend setter, that’s for sure. When he came to England, Arsenal and the rest of the Premier League clubs were still operating like they were decades before, little had moved on. But Wenger changed that in an instant with his forward-thinking ideas and has greatly contributed to making the English Premiership arguably the best domestic football league in the world. From players’ diets to their behaviour off the pitch, Wenger has been all about professionalism and has left no stone unturned in his pursuit for success. His revolutionary thinking may seem like common sense these days, but through the foundations laid by Wenger, managers such as Sam Allardyce have gone on to take science and fitness in English football to another level.
When you think of Wenger’s character only one word adequately describes the Frenchman, integrity. In football, which is a multi-million business these days, Wenger has always conducted himself admirably and kept his dignity, well almost always. Wenger is prone to the odd verbal outburst and his recent run in with Manchester City manager Mark Hughes shows that he isn’t afraid to get on the wrong side of his fellow managers. But Wenger has managed to keep his calm and composed persona and will go down in Arsenal’s and the Premier League’s history as a truly great manager. Who would bet against him winning further silverware for the Gunners sooner rather than later?
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